Covid can be beaten only when all countries defeat it, says Canadian High Commissioner Nadir Patel

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaWritten By: Sidhant SibalUpdated: May 10, 2021, 12:56 PM IST
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Speaking to WION, Patel said, 'Covid will only be defeated when all countries have defeated it. Therefore it is imperative that we all collaborate'

As Canada begins sending its assistance to India amid the second wave of the pandemic, its High Commissioner Nadir Patel has called for a collective action to deal with the crisis. Speaking to WION Principal Diplomatic Correspondent Sidhant Sibal, Patel said, "Covid will only be defeated when all countries have defeated it. Therefore it is imperative that we all collaborate".

His comments came in as the first Canadian flight carrying essential medical supplies reached the country over the weekend. Canadian CC-150 Polaris aircraft deployed by Canadian Armed Forces brought in 25,000 vials of the antiviral Remdesivir and 50 ventilators. Another aircraft with more medical supplies from Canada will arrive next week.

WION: What kind of assistance Canada has sent to India?
Nadir Patel: Our first consignment arrived on Saturday afternoon, we are sending 350 ventilators, 25,000 vials of Remdesivir. In addition, Canada has contributed to UNICEF to acquire 1450 oxygen concentrators, we also contributed $10 million to the Indian Red Cross through the Canadian Red Cross. This will help the Indian Red Cross to procure additional supplies. This was done a couple of weeks ago. In addition to this, there has been an outpouring of support right across Canada. Province of Ontario, Saskatchewan, private sector companies are active in India, they have donated millions to local organisations, the Red Cross, Care Canada, and individuals as part of a community of concern.

WION: Can we expect more assistance from Canada?
Nadir Patel: The first shipment arrived on Saturday, we have another shipment arriving in a few days. Every day I am getting calls, or reached out from Canadian or Canadian companies or organisations wanting to do more. So we certainly expect more to come in the coming days. 

WION: How both India and Canada fighting against the Covid crisis. How is the Canadian vaccination drive going in the country? Canada has become the first country to vaccinate children up to the age of 12 and above...any details?

Nadir Patel: So we have been cooperating on tackling Covid since last year since the beginning of the pandemic. Our foreign ministers have spoken a number of times over the past year, including very recently as well. Our prime ministers have spoken as well in addressing ways to collaborate to tackle Covid in Canada, in India, and around the world. Both countries feel that we will not defeat Covid in one country alone. It will only be defeated when all countries have defeated it. Therefore it is imperative that we all collaborate. Areas include pharma, vaccine,  Canada was quite grateful for India's support around procuring vaccines. We continue to work on these initiatives, around the current situation, also multilaterally look at ways in which we could help other countries out and certainly the way we are doing. The vaccination drive in Canada is well underway, and our vaccination drive is based on a science and science-based approach. Any changes to our vaccine protocols are done based on science through our national advisory committee on vaccines.

WION: What is Canada's stance on Covid vaccine patent waiver?
Nadir Patel: We also have spoken out. Our trade minister made a statement couple of days ago on this. We have indicated that we certainly look forward to exploring initiatives to combat COVID-19. On this particular issue, we would welcome an opportunity to look at any proposal specifically towards the WHO and that is where we are. Certainly, these initiatives are important for us to consider as our other countries as well.