Bill Gates lauds PM Modi's leadership in combating COVID-19 in India
Philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has commended Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership and his government's "proactive measures" such as lockdown and expansion of focussed testing in combating the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
According to officials, Gates, in a letter to Modi, said he was glad that the Indian government is fully utilising its exceptional digital capabilities in its COVID-19 response and has launched the 'Aarogya Setu' digital app for coronavirus tracking, contact tracing, and to connect people to health services.
"We commend your leadership and the proactive measures you and your government have taken to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 infection rate in India," Gates was quoted as saying in the letter.
A file photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bill Gates, Co-Chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. - PTI
He hailed the Modi government's steps in fighting COVID-19 such as adopting a national lockdown, expanding focussed testing to identify hotspots for isolation, quarantining, and care, and significantly increasing health expenditures to strengthen the health system response and promoting research and development and digital innovation.
"Grateful to see that you're seeking to balance public health imperatives with the need to ensure adequate social protection for all Indians," officials quoted the Gates Foundation co-chair as saying.
Earlier this month, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced an additional $150 million of grant for the global fight against the deadly coronavirus, raising its total funding to more than $250 million.
The foundation also called on world leaders to unite in a global response to COVID-19, that has infected over two million people worldwide, to ensure equitable access to diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.
In another initiative, the government of India on Tuesday announced that it will conduct a telephone survey to garner feedback from citizens on prevalence and spread of coronavirus symptoms and urged people to participate in the exercise in good measure.
They will be called from the number 1921, the Health Ministry said, while cautioning against pranksters calling from any other number on the pretext of a similar survey.
The survey will be conducted by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), Government of India.