The emergency SAARC fund proposed by PM Modi to combat the Coronavirus outbreak has been operationalized, as per the Ministry of External Affairs. The Ministry also revealed that they have received requests from member countries for assistance.
PM Modi on Sunday had initiated a video conference between the SAARC nations. The video conference was attended by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, Maldives President Ibrahim Solih, Sri Lanka president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bhutan Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering, Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's assistant - Dr Zafar Mirza. As of today, over 180 positive cases of the virus have been reported in India.
Taking the initiative to battle the pandemic Coronavirus (COVID-19), PM Modi had announced setting up of a common 'COVID-19 emergency fund' and pledged $10 million as India's contribution to it, while addressing a SAARC conference to battle COVID-19. Clarifying that any one of the seven nations could withdraw funds to use battle the pandemic, he said that India is also assembling a Rapid action team of doctors at the disposal of the neighbours. Moreover, he said that India can share its Disease Surveillance software with the SAARC countries.
"I propose we create a COVID-19 emergency fund. This could be based on a voluntary contribution for all of us. India can start with an initial offer of USD 10 million and any one of us can use this fund for battling COVID19. We are assembling a Rapid action team of doctors in India along with testing kits to be on standby at your disposal if required," he said.
In view of the rapid spread of the novel Coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday will address the nation at 8 pm over issues relating to COVID-19 and the efforts to combat it. Earlier on Wednesday, PM Modi chaired a meeting with senior officials to review the ongoing efforts to contain coronavirus pandemic in India.