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COVID-19: PM Modi Leads Video Conference Held with SAARC Leaders

COVID-19: PM Modi Leads Video Conference Held with SAARC Leaders

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a video conference with the leaders of the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) nations to outline a common strategy to combat the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) in the South Asian region.

Yesterday, the PM thanked the leaders for joining the conference at such short notice. He highlighted the ancient people-to-people ties and interconnectedness of societies of the SAARC nations and said that the member nations must brace themselves to face this challenge together.

With the goal of collaboration, PM Modi proposed creating a COVID-19 Emergency Fund according to voluntary contributions from all the nations. India made an initial offer of US $10 million towards the fund. This fund can be used by any partner country for meeting the cost of immediate actions. He informed that India is building a Rapid Response Team of doctors and specialists and testing kits and other equipment, which will be on stand-by, to be available for use for the countries, if and when required.

Moreover, the PM proposed arranging for online training capsules for the emergency response teams of the neighboring nations and sharing of the software behind India’s Integrated Disease Surveillance Portal, helping trace possible virus carriers and the people who came in contact. He suggested that current mechanisms like SAARC Disaster Management Centre could be used to implement best practices.

Further, PM Modi suggested creating a common Research Platform to coordinate research to control epidemic diseases within the region. He also asked experts to further brainstorm the long-term economic outcomes of COVID-19 and ways to protect domestic trade and local value chains from its impact.

The fellow SAARC leaders thanked PM Modi for the initiatives he proposed. PM Modi reiterated the resolve of countering the situation together and said that the neighborhood collaboration by SAARC nations should serve as an example for the whole world.

Furthermore, the PM said that the guiding mantra for India is “prepare, but don’t panic.” He mentioned the proactive steps taken, including a graded response mechanism, screening people entering the country, running public awareness campaigns on TV, print, and social media, making special efforts to connect with the vulnerable groups, increasing diagnostic facilities, and developing protocols for all stages to control the pandemic.

The PM added that India not only successfully evacuated almost 1400 Indians from several countries but also some of the citizens of the neighboring nations following the ‘neighborhood first policy.’

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina, Nepalese PM KP Sharma Oli, Bhutanese PM Doctor Lotay Tshering, and Pakistani Health Minister Doctor Zafar Mirza attended the PM Modi-led SAARC video conference and shared practices from their respective nations.

Watch the Full Video Conference Here:

“Chalking out a plan to combat the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus with SAARC leaders.”

Later, PM Modi tweeted on his official handle and thanked all the SAARC leaders for joining the video conference to deal with COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus-

“Would like to thank all distinguished SAARC leaders who joined today’s video conference to tackle COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus and shared best practices from their respective nations to overcome this challenge as well as fruitful suggestions on creating a healthier region.”

He further tweeted-

“Working together is the best way to overcome this menace.

The way ahead lies in :

Collaboration not Confusion.

Preparation not Panic.

We have to fight this battle together, and we have to win it together.

Our neighbourhood collaboration should be a model for the world.”

Earlier, due to the worldwide scare of the COVID-19, which has been declared a pandemic by the WHO, PM Modi canceled the Holi program and wrote a letter to Chinese President XI Jinping and offered assistance to deal with Coronavirus. Also, recently, he tweeted and asked people not to panic and take precautions.

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