SAARC leaders for joint strategy to fight against Coronavirus

SAARC leaders for joint strategy to fight against Coronavirus

New Delhi: Leading fight against Novel Coronavirus outbreak and chalking out a strategy to prevent further spread of the infectious viral disease, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday interacted with India’s neighbours via video-conferencing with an aim to pool together efforts in containing the pandemic.

With the Coronavirus claiming about 5,000 lives across the globe and infecting nearly 1.5 lakh people, Prime Minister Modi’s initiative calling upon the SAARC leaders to interact via video-conferencing found prompt and ready support and his appeal for coordinated action drew instant approval and response from Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. On behalf of Pakistan, Dr Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan is participating in the video-conference.

In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Modi said: “As we prepare to face this challenge, let me briefly share India’s experience of combating the spread of this virus so far. Prepare, but don’t panic has been our guiding mantra.”

He said that India made special efforts to reach out to vulnerable groups and worked to quickly ramp up capacity in the system including through training medical staff across the country.

“We started screening entry into India from mid-January itself, while also gradually increasing restrictions on travel. ​The step-by-step approach has helped avoid panic. Our people-to-people ties are ancient and our societies are deeply interconnected. Therefore, we must all prepare together, act together and succeed together,’ he said.

Mr Modi said India also responded to the call of its people abroad and evacuated nearly 1400 Indians from different countries as well as helped some of the citizens of neighborhood countries.