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Modi proposes collective fund to contain corona in SAARC countries

Rtv online desk
|  15 Mar 2020, 00:00 | Update : 15 Mar 2020, 22:22
Modi proposes collective fund to contain corona in SAARC countries
Photo: Collected
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed a collective emergency fund to regionally combat coronavirus offering US$ 10 million on Delhi’s behalf as seed money as SAARC leaders joined a videoconference at his call to devise ways to face the global pandemic.

“I propose we create a COVID-19 (coronavirus) emergency fund. This could be based on voluntary contributions from all of us,” he said as leaders of the eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) joined the summit on Sunday from their respective capitals at his call.

Modi simultaneously said New Delhi would provide an amount of $10 million as seed money for the proposed fund.

As the WHO has classified the COVID-19 as a pandemic, the Indian premier said, “It is clear that we have to work together. We can respond best by – coming together not growing apart; collaboration not confusion; preparation not panic.”

He also suggested creating a common research platform to coordinate research on controlling epidemic diseases within the South Asian region, saying, “The Indian Council of Medical Research can offer help coordinating such an exercise.”

Modi has advocated for the collective regional efforts of the SAARC countries to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and said, “Our people-to-people ties are ancient and our societies are deeply interconnected. Therefore, we must prepare together, we must act together and succeed together.”

In this context, he also said that all should bear in mind that the SAARC region is home to nearly one-fifth of all communities and it is densely populated.

He went on saying, “As developing countries, all of us have significant challenges in terms of access to health care facilities, people to people ties are ancient and our societies are deeply interconnected.”

Noting that India has taken proactive steps including upgraded response mechanism to combat spreading the lethal virus, he said, “We started screening entry into India . . . also gradually increasing restrictions on travel. We have increased our public awareness campaigns on TV, print and social media, we made special efforts to reach out to vulnerable groups.”

Modi also said that they were aware to quickly ramp up capacity in the country’s system including through training their medical staffs across the country.

“We are assembling a Rapid Response Team (RRT) of doctors and specialists in India, along with testing kits and other equipment,” he continued.

The Indian premier assured SAARC nations that the RRT will be on stand-by, to be placed at their (SAARC countries) disposal, if required.

He said that they had set up an Integrated Disease Surveillance Portal to better trace possible virus carriers and the people they contacted.

“We could share this Disease Surveillance software with SAARC partners, and training on using this. Looking ahead, we could create a common research platform, to coordinate research on controlling epidemic diseases within our South Asian region. The Indian Council of Medical Research can offer help coordinating such an exercise,” he added.

Expressing his concern about the uncertainty of the outcome of taking measures to combat the virus, Modi said none can predict with certainty how the situation will unfold despite their best efforts.

He said that is why it will be most valuable for all to share their perspectives as all of the SAARC nations must also be facing similar concerns

“We have now built our protocol . . . including carrying out testing by mobile teams deployed abroad. We recognize that other countries would be also concerned about their citizens in India. So we briefed foreign ambassadors about the steps we are taking,” he added.

Source: BSS

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