India to focus on health and economy as coronavirus surges, Modi says

India's coronavirus epidemic spiraled when the nation began easing its strict and sweeping lockdown in late April. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (BLOOMBERG) - With India now one of the world's top three Covid-19 hot spots, the country is focused on controlling its pandemic and reviving stalled economic growth, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday (July 9).

India's coronavirus epidemic spiralled when the nation began easing its strict and sweeping lockdown in late April in order to reverse an economic collapse that has left millions destitute.

The South Asian nation has since set an ambitious timeline to produce an indigenous vaccine that it hopes will go from human trials to being available for general use by Aug 15.

"Today, our companies are active in international efforts for development and production of Covid-19 vaccine," said Mr Modi in addressing the opening session of India Global Week, a three-day conference organised by India Inc Group, a UK-based media house.

"I am certain that India will have an important role in developing and scaling up production of a vaccine once it is made."

"The pandemic has once again shown that India's pharma industry is an asset not just for India but for the entire world," Mr Modi said in a video address. "It has played a leading role in reducing the cost of medicines especially for developing countries."

India's economy, which is heading for its first contraction in more than four decades, is seeing green shoots of recovery while the country is becoming more investment friendly and competitive, Mr Modi said.

"India is laying a red carpet for all global companies to come and establish their presence in the country," he said.

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