Nepal Foreign Affairs (KATHMANDU, 15 March 2020) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered to establish a COVID-19 emergency fund.
Speaking at the SAARC video-conference on discussing the threat of pandemic on Sunday, Prime Minister announced this fund to fight against the deadly virus.
“India offers to establish a COVID-19 emergency fund, based on voluntary contribution from all of us,” said PM Modi. “India offers 10 Million USD for the fund and any member state can use the fund to meet the cost during immediate action to fight the deadly virus.”
PM Modi further proposed to assemble a rapid response team of doctors and required equipment at regional level, along with online training programmes for emergency response team to raise their competencies.
“The integrated disease surveillance portals could also be shared,” said PM Modi. “Let us use the existing facilities like SAARC disaster management centers and common research platforms to coordinate in controlling epidemics.”
PM Modi also stressed on calling the experts to brainstorm on long-term consequences of COVID-19 about how the misfortunes in economy could be revived during the aftermath.
“This is not the first and not the last pandemic that will affect us,” said PM Modi.
Responding to PM Modi’s offer, PM KP Sharma Oli said, “PM Modi’s offer to establish SAARC Emergency Medical Center, supported by strong funding mechanism would be desirable.”
“Modi’s proposal is welcomed and Nepal will also join soon in this fund,” said PM Oli.
Oli said that the economic cost of COVID-19 was high. “It is going to cost all of us if it is prolonged. Regional discussions on reviving economies should be held to support each other by providing easy access,” said PM Oli.
PM Oli also called to utilize the traditional medicines, which the SAARC region is rich in, to prevent and treat the virus.
“Well trained medical facilities should be deployed in critical areas and hospitals of border areas should also be used to conduct health screening,” proposed PM Oli.
PM Oli said that everyone in health sector should be encouraged to share their experiences regarding prevention and treatment of the deadly virus.
Likewise, PM Oli further stressed on practicing ‘Namaste’ while greeting each other instead of shaking hands to prevent the spread of virus.
He further asserted on facilitation of smooth supply of essential medicines and sanitary materials in all the nations.
“Community Based Organisations and non-medical volunteers should be mobilised to spread awareness about the virus,” said PM Oli. “We should also encourage our citizens to avoid non-essential foreign travels and unnecessary large scale gatherings.”
PM Oli also emphasized on building assets on regional level for the prevention and treatment of the disease.