The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation leaders called on Sunday to work together to solve the pandemic through a video connection meeting. As they addressed the situation after a coronavirus outbreak in the area, they expressed their thoughts on a collaborative approach to deal with the pandemic.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested the development of an emergency Covid-19 volunteer fund to donate 10 million dollars by India, along with training for SAARC nations of the patient intervention unit.
The Special Assistant to the Health Prime Minister Dr Zafar Mirza said during the conference that the regional States should meet specialist partners in development like the WHO on the technical advice and services mobilization. The COVID-19 was identified as a global pandemic, Dr Zafar Iqbal Mirza said, but it is also considered to be controllable, as long as adequate steps are placed on public safety in time.
Dr Mirza said that from the epidemic, Pakistan engaged in containment efforts. He also said that we were alert to the threats and had effective public health programs in place and the guidelines and recommendations needed to protect our people were established.
The cycle of regionally wise development would also be impacted, this would hurt national agendas he added. Dr Zafar Mirza said unparalleled problems need a never-ending reaction, and we must realize that the most important and crucial remains national and local reactions.
He suggested that the SAARC Secretariat be a good area for cooperation at the regional level and that a working group of national health information and data sharing authorities should be created, as well as for collaboration in real-time for a global response.
He claimed that Pakistan wishes to reiterate at an appropriate time its earlier proposal to host the SAARC Conference of Ministers of Health. The developing countries are expected to meet international development agencies, including the WHO for strategic support and capital mobilization.
In closing discussions, Indian PM Narendra Modi proposed that an emergency donation fund be formed to provide India with $10 million and the training of the SAARC countries ” Health Response Team.’
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Hasina Wajid, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Gotabaya Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, Sharma Oli of Nepal and Lotay Tshering of Bhutan, all expressed views through video conference and called for collective and mutual efforts to address the pandemic.
Dr Zafar Mirza also raised the fears of Pakistan about Occupied Kashmir COVID-19 cases. He called for the complete withdrawal, freeing up communications and activities and allowing stabilization and relief operations for all locks in the disputed territories.
With regard to a point posed by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on the closing of border crossings, he said that Pakistan did so temporarily in view of the WHO instructions and measures taken by regional states to curb the spread of the virus in order to reinforce its entry and land crossings.
It told the Afghan president that it is a temporary move and that Pakistan will remain aware that appropriate monitoring and screening systems are in place for Afghanistan’s needs and requirements and for critical resources, including food and medicines.
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02 April, 2020