Vaccine Diplomacy: Latin American countries need to get closer to India to deal with COVID pandemic

February 8, 2021 1:43 PM

The data of the number of infected people around the world is very scary, in the United States, 26,781,749 infected patients and India is placed in the second place with 10,764,177million sufferers.

covid-19 cases, coronavirus cases in india, vaccine diplomacy, coronavirus case in us and uk, latin american countries in handling covid vaccine, covid in EcuadorAs of February 1, there are 185,015 active cases in India. (IE Image)

By Ambassador Hector Cueva Jacome

COVID-19 has impacted the whole world, and personally I have been affected by it in my country (Ecuador), in my wife’s country (Colombia) and in the United States (residence of a fraternal brother). I have felt the anguish and agony caused by this monstrous virus.

My parents have been calling me on regular basis because they were scared. They were scared because of the news appearing in the electronic, print and digital media in Ecuador. The data of the number of infected people around the world is very scary, in the United States 26,781,749 infected patients and India is placed in the second place with 10,764,177million sufferers.

And I think that by looking at these numbers I probably would be scared too.

Now the explanation that I give to my parents is that the media does not share full details and often reports partially and/or sometimes it does not share the real details.

I am representing my country Ecuador as an ambassador and am posted in New Delhi. And, I have been asking my parents to calm down and that the situation in India is better than in many countries in Latin America. What the media does not report is the whole picture — it has not reported that COVID-19 pandemic in India almost 97 per cent of the total cases are recovered and that the mortality rate is as low as 1.45 per cent of the total number of cases, here.

As of February 1, there are 185,015 active cases in India while the current table of active cases in some countries is as follows: United States: 9,923,683; France: 2,896,651; UK: 2,055,283; Brazil: 953,155; Belgium: 640,052; Russia: 476,295; Italy: 447,589; Serbia: 361,428; Mexico: 293,331; Germany: 233,756; Poland: 202,031 and Spain: N/A. These numbers are based on the information at website – worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

I did a research on Spain and there is no data on active cases but definitely more than the 167,568 active cases must have been reported today. What reflects this omission of information is that in the West they do not report the true reality of the pandemic in the world, and little or no information is reported on the success of the strategies implemented in all countries.

As developing countries, we must have access to know what have been the strategies to combat Covid-19 in countries such as India, Thailand, Vietnam, Mongolia or Burundi, this would help to set up greater protocols for the control of the pandemic.

We are thinking that with the arrival of the vaccines, the virus will miraculously disappear and everything will return to normal, but I think we are a long way from that.

Vaccination will definitely alleviate the number of cases and reduce the mortality rate, but such words as social distancing, mask, PCR tests or vaccines against Covid-19 will be constant for at least the next two or three years in countries such as Latin America.

Long-term vaccination programs have not been programmed yet. In this aspect Latin America and the Caribbean should get closer to India, not only in search of medicine but in a complete epidemic management program (not only Covid-19) this would be of great help to face epidemics in the future.

(The author is Ambassador of Ecuador to India. He along with his spouse have participated in the third phase of medical trials of Covaxin a couple of weeks ago. And is also waiting to get these vaccines for his country as soon as possible. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online.)

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