India is restricting the export of most diagnostic testing kits, as coronavirus cases in the South Asian nation topped 3,350 on Sunday despite a three-week nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the respiratory disease.
India, which in recent weeks already banned the export of certain drugs, along with ventilators, masks and other protective gear needed by both patients and medical staff, issued the latest directive on Saturday.
The move comes even as U.S. President Donald Trump urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a phone call on Saturday, to release supplies of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which is being tested as a possible treatment for patients with COVID-19 – the disease caused by the coronavirus.
“The two leaders agreed to remain in touch on the issue of global supply chains for critical pharmaceuticals and medical supplies and to ensure they continue to function as smoothly as possible during the global health crisis,” White House spokesman Judd Deere, said in a tweet on Saturday.
In a briefing note on the conversation, India said the two leaders “agreed to deploy the full strength of the India – U.S. partnership to resolutely and effectively combat COVID-19.”