Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said that the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) situation in India is dire and the “worst is yet to come”. Pichai told CNN that it has been “heartening” to see the kind of attention people at the highest levels in the United States have been giving to the health crisis unfolding in India and other countries.
“The situation there is dire and it has been heartbreaking to see. And I think the worst is yet to come,” said the Google CEO.
“What’s been heartening, at least being here, is definitely seeing the attention here. I realise that at the highest levels, from President Biden, secretary Blinken, there has been focus on engaging to see how we can help India and the other countries being affected,” he added.
The first consignment of Covid-19 assistance from the United States, which included 440 oxygen cylinders and regulators and 960,000 rapid diagnostic tests, arrived in India on Friday. Meanwhile, India has been trying to push the proposal at the World Trade Organization seeking a Trips waiver for Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics.
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A temporary Trips waiver for certain provisions is supposed to enable greater access to Covid-19 vaccines, particularly in middle- and low-income countries. The proposal has found support in several Democrats in the US but many Republicans continue to oppose it. Sundar Pichai denied weighing in on the intellectual property rights issue, saying he was more involved in the conversations around providing raw materials supply access.
“I’m not familiar enough with issues around IP protection for vaccines to weigh in on them,” he told CNN.
Earlier this week, Pichai announced that Google will be providing funding of ₹135 crores for medical supplies and to help communities in general as the huge spike in Covid-19 cases continues to stretch India’s health infrastructure. The ministry of health and family welfare on Sunday morning said that 3,92,488 new Covid-19 cases and 3,689 related deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.