With the coronavirus outbreak creating additional demand for anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has said three companies from the state will export it to the United States.
In an interview to a private radio station, Rupani said his government has kept aside 1 crore hydroxychloroquine tablets to deal with any eventuality.
“Gujarat is shining the world over. US President Trump has been vigorously demanding that drug from India. Now, when the Centre has given permission for its export, Gujarat is all set to send it to the United States,” said Rupani.
“Three Gujarat-based companies have already started production of that drug to be supplied to the US. To be on the safer side, we have kept aside 1 crore tablet for our own use,” the CM said.
US President Donald Trump had, on Monday, warned India of retaliation if the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine is not supplied to his country.
In response, the Centre had said India will supply essential drugs to neighbouring countries and those that are badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Hydroxychloroquine is an old and inexpensive drug used to treat malaria, the export of which was banned by India last month amid views that it could be used as a potential anti-viral agent to protect from infection healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients.
On speculation of the lockdown getting extended, Rupani said it was tough to say anything at this juncture, adding it was the Centre that would decide on this after seeking opinion from all states.
He said there was confusion among the masses on this topic, and claimed one of the options being discussed by the people was to lift the lockdown in a phased manner so as to control the rush of crowds.
He said the impact of lockdown on the economy should not be taken into consideration when people’s lives are at stake.
He said a sudden rise in COVID-19 cases in Gujarat was because of “mistakes” committed by Tablighi Jamaat members who had attended a gathering in Delhi last month.