Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro thanked India for the “timely assistance” in allowing export of raw materials to increase the production of Hydroxychloroquine, a key anti-malaria drug believed effective in treating the novel Coronavirus.
Addressing his nation on Wednesday, the President said that the country was scheduled to receive a shipment of raw material from India to increase chloroquine production, which is being discussed in the international scientific community about its use and effectiveness.
Bolsonaro said, “As a result of my direct conversation with the Prime Minister of India, we will receive, until Saturday, raw material to continue producing hydroxychloroquine, so that we can treat COVID-19 patients, as well as malaria, lupus and arthritis”.
“I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian people for this very timely assistance to the Brazilian people,” he further said.
With 210 million inhabitants, Brazil has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in South America with nearly 16,000 infections and 800 deaths.
Earlier, the Brazilian President had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanking him for easing restrictions on the export of Hydroxychloroquine.
Bolsonaro compared India’s move to the legend of Hanuman bringing Sanjeevani booti for Lakshman in the epic Ramayana.
“Just as Lord Hanuman brought the holy medicine from the Himalayas to save the life of Lord Rama’s brother Laksmana (sic), and Jesus healed those who were sick and restored the sight of Bartimeu, India and Brazil will overcome this global crisis by joining forces and sharing blessings for the sake of all peoples,” Bolsonaro’s letter stated.
On 4 April, PM Modi had a telephonic conversation with Bolsonaro to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak. The PM also gave his condolences to the coronavirus victims in Brazil.
During the conversation, both Modi and Bolsanaro had stressed on close cooperation between India and Brazil to mitigate the damages done by the pandemic.
According to a government statement, Modi had “assured all possible support” to the Brazilian President. The two leaders also agreed that their officials would remain in regular touch to discuss the COVID-19 situation and the challenges emerging from it.
Earlier on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump had also thanked India and PM Modi for allowing the export of the drug that is seen as to offer a viable therapeutic solution to Coronavirus.
Ever since the deadly virus spread across nations, Hydroxychloroquine has become one of the most highly demanded drugs worldwide. India, the world’s main supplier of generic drugs, has been finding it difficult to cope with the requests for Hydroxycholoquine received from nearly 30 nations.
On March 25, the Government banned export of anti-malaria drug Hydroxycloroquine, with immediate effect to ensure sufficient availability of the medicine in the domestic market. However, India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade, an arm of the commerce ministry which deals with export and import-related matters, said it will allow export of the medicine on humanitarian grounds on case-to-case basis on the Ministry of External Affairs’ recommendation.
Following this, India received requests from several countries including the United States and its immediate neighbours like Sri Lanka and Nepal to release the drug.
On Tuesday, in a major development, India announced that it “will supply essential drugs to some nations badly affected” by COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said given the enormity of the COVID-19 pandemic, India has always maintained that the international community must display strong solidarity and cooperation.