SAARC leaders agree on joint action against COVID 19

Leaders of the defunct South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has come together to prepare a common strategy to fight the coronavirus pandemic – at the initiative of Indian prime minister.

The leaders agreed to set up COVID-19 emergency fund – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the initiator pledged to contribute $10m – to start with. Any of the eight SAARC countries would be able to use the fund to meet the cost of immediate action on COVID-19.

Foreign secretaries of the member countries are instructed to coordinate quickly to finalise the proposed COVID-19 emergency fund.

Prime minister Dr Lotay Tshering emphasised on sharing the limited resources and technology among member countries. “This would be an uphill task, which is why it’s important for all of us to be on the same page,” he said, adding that a plan should also be in place to look after the vulnerable economies in the region.

A press release from the SAARC secretariat stated that the SAARC leaders recognised the unprecedented threat posed by the outbreak of COVID-19 and the urgency with which the member states needed to work together to prevent and contain the spread of the virus. They also recognised the need to analyse and address the long-term economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region.

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