The UN has expressed solidarity with India in its fight against coronavirus, with a top official at the world body’s health agency praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 21-day nationwide lockdown as a “comprehensive and robust” response to the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
Globally, the number of dead from the coronavirus has risen to 18,915 with more than 422,900 cases reported in over 165 countries and territories, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The number of coronavirus cases in India stood at 606 on Wednesday with nine COVID-19 deaths reported so far, according to Health Ministry data.
In an attempt to stem the spread of coronavirus in India, PM Modi on Tuesday announced a nationwide lockdown for three weeks.
“United Nations stands in solidarity with India in its fight against COVID-19,” said a video message tweeted by United Nations News, the UN’s multimedia service.
Heeding to a call by PM Modi, people came out on their balconies, windows and courtyards to applaud the work of medical professionals on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.
The normally bustling streets across India wore a deserted look throughout the day as people participated in the curfew. The UN News video showed footage of empty roads and urban spaces on Sunday, just two days before PM Modi announced the nationwide lockdown for three weeks.
“India is on a 21-day lockdown to try and prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from taking hold. The @UN health agency @WHO urged the Gov to take aggressive action,” UN News tweeted.
WHO Representative to India Henk Bekedam praised the country’s response to the pandemic, describing it as “comprehensive and robust”. “Massive efforts have been made towards prevention and containing the spread, including strengthening surveillance, laboratory capacity, contact tracing and isolation and risk communications,” Henk Bekedam said.
He said the Prime Minister’s call for social distancing had received widespread community support across the country. “It is vital that we come together in solidarity and help in breaking the chain of transmission and flattening the curve,” he said.
The WHO and other UN partners have been working closely with the Indian government on preparedness and response measures, disease surveillance, laboratory and research protocols, risk communications, training on infection prevention and control and cluster containment plan, surveillance and tracking of travellers.