New Delhi, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced that three possible vaccines against Covid-19 were being developed in the country, – currently undergoing different stages of testing – and India had the capacity of manufacturing the antidote at a large scale once it was found to be effective.
“Today in india, not one or two, but three vaccines are in (different) stages of testing. When scientists give the go-ahead, we are ready with a plan for production,” the prime minister said in a speech in New Delhi on Saturday to mark the 73th anniversary of India’s independence.
Although Modi did not reveal the laboratories or companies involved in the projects, he claimed that the government had a roadmap to ensure the vaccine reaches “every Indian in the shortest amount of time.”
Amid subdued independence day celebrations – with most of the events canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic – Modi began his speech at the iconic Red Fort in old Delhi with a tribute to the healthcare workers fighting the virus, with some members of the profession being invited to the event.
“We are passing through strange times. Today, I don’t see children here at the Red Fort because of the pandemic we are facing. On behalf of the entire nation, I want to thank the efforts of all corona-warriors, all those healthcare workers, doctors and nurses, who have worked tirelessly to serve the nation,” the prime minister said.
“In this corona crisis, many families have been affected, many have lost their lives. I know, with the resolve of 1.3 billion Indians, we will defeat this crisis.”
Securing a vaccine has become essential for the country as it has still not managed to flatten the infection curve, having registered over 2.5 million cases and more than 49,000 deaths as of Saturday, according to the ministry of health.
The number of cases has doubled within a month in India, which eased strict lockdown measures in early June when the number of infections stood at just around 250,000.
Even as cases of the disease have surged, the government has kept gradually lifting restrictions. As part of the third phase of opening up the economy, currently restrictions remain only on large events or indoor places of gathering with a sizable capacity.
The government has justified these measures citing the high number of recovered patients – 71.7 percent – and a lower death rate compared to other countries, amounting to around 1.9 percent of the positive cases, according to official data. EFE-EPA