Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday, said that the government has started working on coordinated efforts that were called for during the SAARC conference. MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar stated that steps had already been taken to follow up on the agreed proposals and were already attempting to meet specific requirements meted to India by member nations.
"We are moving very fast on most of the proposals and announcements. The emergency fund is already up and running and we have received many requests from other SAARC countries for assistance in the form of masks, shoe covers, gloves, disinfectants, and other items," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on March 15, addressed a SAARC video conference to share each other efforts and issues as the seven countries battle the pandemic. The video conference was led by PM Modi and 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. PM Modi highlighted the SAARC's ancient ties and said that 'we must work and succeed together'.
Nearly 170 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in India with four reported deaths.
Multiple states across the country have taken up measures to contain the spread of the virus, including shutting down schools, universities, malls and other places where a large number of people can gather. Firms have also implemented work from home so as to not expose the employees to the virus.
The Union government on Thursday announced that no international flight will be allowed to land in the country for a week from March 22
The Ministry of External Affairs has also appointed an additional secretary level rank official as nodal officer to coordinate efforts at the global level regarding the spread of COVID-19.
Globally, around 8,000 people have died due to Coronavirus, with the epicentre being China. The virus has infected around 2,19,000 people globally and has now spread to North America, South America, Europe, New Zealand, and more than 100 other countries.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has initiated a Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund for individuals, philanthropies and businesses to contribute to the effort to respond to the pandemic. The funds will help to send essential supplies such as personal protective equipment to frontline health workers, Enable all countries to track and detect the disease by boosting laboratory capacity through training and equipment, ensure health workers and communities everywhere have access to the latest science-based information to protect themselves, prevent infection and care for those in need, and accelerate efforts to fast-track the discovery and development of lifesaving vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments.