PM Modi proposes emergency fund to combat COVID-19

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NEWDELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the creation of a COVID-19 emergency fund based on voluntary contributions from all the countries, with India making an initial offer of USD 10 million for the fund during his interaction with the leaders of the SAARC countries. 

 

The Prime Minister held a video conference on Sunday with the leaders of SAARC member countries to exchange their views in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. 

“The fund can be used by any of the partner countries to meet the cost of immediate actions," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

The statement added that India is assembling a rapid response team of doctors and specialists, along with testing kits and other equipment, which will be on stand-by, to be placed at the disposal of the countries, if required.

According to the MEA, the Prime Minister also offered arranging for online training capsules for the emergency response teams of the neighbouring countries and sharing of the software behind India's Integrated Disease Surveillance Portal to help trace possible virus carriers and the people they contacted.

He suggested that existing mechanisms like SAARC Disaster Management Centre can be used to pool in best practices as also the creation of a common research platform to coordinate research on controlling epidemic diseases within the South Asian region.

Modi said that India has not only successfully evacuated almost 1,400 Indians from different countries but also evacuated some of the citizens of the neighbouring countries in accordance with the 'neighbourhood first policy'.

As per the report, the leaders thanked the Prime Minister for the proposed initiatives. The Prime Minister reiterated the resolve to battle together and said that neighbourhood collaboration by SAARC countries should serve as a model for the world.

The Prime Minister said that the guiding mantra for India has been "prepare, but don't panic".

Apart from Modi, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, Bhutanese premier Lotay Tshering, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Special Assistant to Pakistani Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza, participated in the video conference.

 

With inputs from ANI

Image credit: Financial Express

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