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Coronavirus Pandemic: Nearly 2,000 US COVID-19 deaths for 2nd consecutive day

Coronavirus Pandemic: Nearly 2,000 US COVID-19 deaths for 2nd consecutive day
Washington: The United States has recorded nearly 2,000 novel coronavirus deaths for a second day in a row, according to a COVID-19 tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The record-breaking figure of 1,973 coronavirus deaths (slightly higher than the previous day’s toll of 1,939) brings the total number of US COVID-19 fatalities to 14,695.

The US coronavirus death toll now exceeds that of Spain, which has suffered 14,555 deaths, but has not surpassed Italy, whose COVID-19 toll stands at 17,669.

Meanwhile, US president Donald Trump on Thursday profusely praised and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his decision to supply hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), the anti-malaria drug used for treatment of the COVID-19 disease, to some of the most affected nations.

In his morning tweet, President Trump said, “Extraordinary times require even closer cooperation between friends. Thank you India and the Indian people for the decision on HCQ. Will not be forgotten! Thank you Prime Minister Narendra Modi for your strong leadership in helping not just India, but humanity, in this fight!”

President Trump’s admiration for Modi and gratitude towards India, put rest to several speculative media reports that claimed that the Indian government had taken the decision to lift the ban on the export of HCQ under the “threat of retaliation” in international trade by the US.

At a White House press briefing on Monday President Trump, in response to a question whether he was worried about “retaliation to the US ban on export of medical goods” from India, had said, “I would be surprised if he (Modi) would, you know, because India does very well with the US… I spoke to him Sunday morning, called him, and I said, we’d appreciate you allowing our supply (of HCQ) to come out. If he doesn’t allow it to come out, that would be ok. But of course, there may be retaliation. Why wouldn’t there be?”

Trump’s response to the reporter’s leading question was construed by some sections of Indian media as a threat even as the government denied that it had taken the decision under any pressure.

In view of the humanitarian aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, India on Tuesday decided to licence paracetamol and HCQ in appropriate quantities to neighbouring countries who are dependent on Indian capabilities.

India will also be supplying these essential drugs to some nations which have been particularly badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a ministry of external affairs statement said.

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