Prime Minister Narendra Modi has organised a video conference on March 15, where all leaders and representatives from SAARC nations attended the video conference meet to discuss the strategy to counter the pandemic coronavirus. PM Modi mentions “prepare but don’t panic,” as India’s guiding mantra to deal with pandemic.
Modi also mentioned the cases reported across India, “Our region has reported less than 150 coronavirus cases, but we need to remain vigilant,” he said in conference. “Step-by-step approach helped avoid panic, made special efforts to reach out to vulnerable groups,” Modi said.
Counter measures has been taken by the government, restrictions on travel and visas are imposed, “We started screening people entering India from mid-January itself, while gradually increasing restrictions on travel,” cited Modi. Modi urged SAARC leaders to create an emergency fund for COVID-19, shall be based on voluntary contributions from all the SAARC nations. Moreover, Ashraf Ghani, president of Afghanistan demanded common framework for tele-medicine to tackle virus.
“India also responded to call of its people abroad, we evacuated nearly 1,400 Indians from different countries,” cited Modi. However, India helped some citizens of neighbouring countries by evacuating them from coronavirus-hit nations, said Modi. “No nation can afford to be unresponsive to situation in wake of coronavirus outbreak,” said Zafar Mirza, Pakistan PM’s Special Assistant on Health. “We share common regional concerns on COVID-19; while hoping for best, we have to prepare for worst,” said Zafar.
Ibrahim Solih, Maldivian President backs coordinated model to deal with Covid-19, says no country can deal with the situation alone. Ibrahim Solih expressed his gratitude to PM Modi for regional initiative to deal COVID-19.
SAARC leaders should develop model for our economies to tide over problems posed by this virus, said Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka President. “I propose setting up of SAARC ministerial-level group to deal with issues related to coronavirus,” said Rajapaksa. “Health ministers of SAARC nations can hold video conference to discuss specific issues related to COVID-19,” said Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh PM. “Our collective efforts will help us devise a sound and robust strategy for SAARC region to fight coronavirus,” said K.P. Sharma Oli, Nepal PM.
“Important for all of us to be on same page to combat coronavirus,” said Lotay Tshering, Bhutanese PM. “It is clear we have to work together; we can respond best to coronavirus by coming together, not growing apart,” Modi said to the SAARC leaders.