Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation during Independence Day celebrations at the historic Red Fort in Delhi, India, August 15, 2020. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

India is ready to mass produce Covid-19 vaccines when scientists give the go-ahead, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his Independence Day speech on Saturday (Aug 15).

In annual celebrations held at the 17th-century Red Fort and scaled down due to the pandemic, Modi identified health as a key priority for his government.

“Not one, not two, as many as three coronavirus vaccines are being tested in India,” he said from the ramparts of the red sandstone palace in the old quarters of Delhi, wearing a flowing orange and white turban and covering his mouth and nose with a scarf of the same colours whenever anyone came close to him at the ceremony.

“Along with mass-production, the roadmap for distribution of vaccine to every single Indian in the least possible time is also ready,” Modi said.

Launching a National Digital Health Mission for the country of 1.3 billion, Modi said in his seventh Independence Day speech that records of every health test, disease, medication and other details will be kept under a health ID.

“Whether it is making a doctor’s appointment, depositing money or running around for documents in the hospital, the mission will help remove all such challenges,” he said.

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