2020-03-24 14:51:24 BdST

To contain COVID-19SAARC health professionals meet on March 26 thru' video conference


Following the SAARC head of states meeting through video conference, India today proposed a video conference of senior health professionals of SAARC Countries to be held on March 26 to exchange experiences of combating the spread of COVID-19 including on specific protocols dealing with screening at every points, quarantine, and isolation facilities.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had proposed to have an interaction with health professionals of SAARC countries to check the menace of Corona Virus.

A video conference of SAARC Leaders on combating COVID-19 was held on March 15 last. The conference demonstrated the shared resolve of countries in the SAARC region to fight together the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a late evening press release by the Ministry of External Affairs of India says that the numbers of COVID-19 cases in all SAARC countries have been growing steadily, further reinforcing the need for all to act in fullest solidarity to address the challenge and mitigate its impact.

As announced by the Prime Minister, India has since created a COVID-19 Emergency Fund with an initial offer of USD 10 million to meet the costs of immediate actions. The fund has been operationalised and the requirements of urgent medical supplies and equipment in individual countries in the region are being met through this fund.

It is encouraging that, in the spirit of collaboration, contributions have also been committed by Sri Lanka (USD 5 million), Bangladesh (1.5 million), Nepal (USD 1 million), Afghanistan (USD 1 million), Maldives (USD 200,000) and Bhutan (USD 100,000) taking the total amount in the COVID-19 Emergency Fund to USD 18.3 million. It truly reflects the deeply shared sense of determination in the participating countries to act together.

SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC-IU), Gandhinagar has set up a website ( on COVID-19 for shared use of SAARC countries. The website aims, with the active participation of all member countries, to disseminate reliable information and updates on the evolving situation relating to COVID-19 in the region, and best practices being followed in member countries.

The discussions in the conference are also proposed to include practical joint action on online training capsules for emergency response teams, setting up of an Integrated Disease Surveillance Portal, creation of a Common Research Platform and coordination of research on controlling epidemics within the South Asian region.

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