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Examine the role of BRICS in its fight against COVID-19.

  May 09, 2020

Examine the role of BRICS in its fight against COVID-19.

  1. In the global war against the novel coronavirus, emerging economies, many belonging to BRICS, have reached out to other countries. 
  2. India has reinforced its credentials as a rapidly emerging pharmacy of the world. As the world’s largest producer of hydroxychloroquine, India has recently exported the drug not only to SAARC countries and to its “extended neighbourhood” in the Gulf, but also to Russia, Brazil, Israel and the U.S. 
  3. This has set the stage for India to forge an inclusive BRICS-driven pharma alliance, which could also actively explore the production of vaccines.
  4. A Chinese shipment of 31 tonnes, which included essential supplies and equipment, including respirators, protective suits, masks and medications were sent to many european nations.
  5. At the request of U.S. President Donald Trump, a Russian Antonov-124, packed with medical supplies and experts, landed at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. 
  6. On the African continent, South Africa, the current rotating head of the African Union, is engaged in framing a pan-African response to COVID-19. 
  7. Among the BRICS nations, only Brazil’s response may need a course correction, as its resistance to breaking the infection chains through travel bans, lockdowns, isolation and testing appears to have led to an infection surge.
  8. The Shanghai-based New Development Bank of the BRICS countries has already demonstrated the way forward to allocate financial resources to combat COVID-19. 
  9. In April, during a meeting of the NDB Board of Governors, it has announced that apart from disbursing a $1 billion emergency loan to China, and subsequently to India, South Africa and Brazil, the NDB had the financial heft to provide $10 billion in “crisis-related assistance” to BRICS member countries. 
  10. The NDB’s financial model, demonstrated to address the pandemic, can now become a template to address natural disasters.