18 May 2020
New Delhi: "I think we did our best and we did well," were the words of Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan who said India took the COVID-19 outbreak with "highest level of political commitment".
He was speaking at the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) through video conference, in reply to the address of the Director General, World Health Organization (WHO).
While saying that India is still learning about the new virus, Harsh Vardhan took credit for India's response and the seriousness with which its political leadership took the pandemic.
"India took all necessary steps well in time, including surveillance at points of entry, evacuation of nationals stranded overseas, massive community surveillance through robust disease surveillance network, strengthening of health infrastructure, capacity building of over two million frontline human resources, risk communication and community involvement. I think we did our best and we did well," said he.
However he added, "We are learning and we are confident of doing better in the months to come."
He also stressed the role India played internationally by supplying essential medicines to 123 nations "as an expression of solidarity". The health minister said the pandemic demands that all governments, industry and philanthropists pool their resources, to ensure everyone benefits.
He also laid emphasis on therapeutics, diagnostics and vaccines and called for global collaboration while hailing the role played by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He thanked and expressed India's honour for all the frontline corona warriors across the globe who have been keeping humanity ahead of their individual concern, at a time the death toll due to the pandemic is ever rising.
"I stand here to honour the doctors, the nurses, the paramedics, the scientists, the journalists, the delivery boys, security staff, sanitation staff and the police personnel - the forgotten roles who are today playing ‘super humans'. They are our real heroes," he said.