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Coronavirus: Donald Trump warns India of retaliation over its decision to ban export of hydroxychloroquine

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 7 April 2020, 22:41 IST

US President Donald Trump on Monday said "there may be retaliation" if India turned down to export hydroxychloroquine, a main anti-malaria drug believed by many to be effectual in the treatment of coronavirus. His statements come two weeks after the Indian government placed an embargo on exports of the drug as experts test its effectiveness in helping treat Sars-CoV-2.

"I would be surprised if he (PM Modi) would, you know, because India does very well with the United States," Mr Trump said at a White House press conference on Monday, when a reporter asked whether he was worried about "retaliation to the US ban on export of medical goods" from India.

"I don't like that decision, I didn't hear that that was his decision. I know that he stopped it for other countries. I spoke to him yesterday, we had a very good talk and we'll see whether or not that's his... For many years, they've been taken advantage of the United States on trade. So I would be surprised if that were his decision. He'd have to tell me that. I spoke to him Sunday morning, called him, and I said, we'd appreciate you allowing our supply 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," the US President said.

The US president has touted hyderxychloroquine as a ‘game changer’ although it is yet to be certified as a successful remedy for coronavirus.

Previously, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had advocated the use of the anti-malaria drug for treating healthcare workers serving Covid-19 patients.

On 25th March, the Indian government had issued a statement about a hold on the medicine’s export, stating that it would be authorized only on "case-to case basis". India has so far reported over 4,000 Covid-19 patient and more than 100 deaths.

However, earlier this morning, the government stated that main drugs related to coronavirus cure will be supplied to "nations that have been badly affected" by the virus.

"In view of the humanitarian aspects of the pandemic, it has been decided that India would licence paracetamol and Hydroxychloroquine in appropriate quantities to all our neighbouring countries who are dependent on our capabilities. We will also be supplying these essential drugs to some nations who have been particularly badly affected by the pandemic. We would therefore discourage any speculation in this regard or any attempts to politicise the matter," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

At the present time, the US has the most number of Covid-19 cases in the world. The death toll has gone past 10,000 mark, more than 366,000 have been infected so far.

Previous week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put out an emergency use authorization to allow the emergency use of hydroxychloroquine sulfate supplied from the national stockpile to treat coronavirus patient who weighs above 50 kg and are hospitalised.

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First published: 7 April 2020, 12:18 IST