Nepal | January 15, 2021

India offers $10 million to fight COVID-19

We’re assembling a rapid response team of doctors and specialists, along with testing kits: Modi

Ram Kumar Kamat
Share Now:

We need to devise ways to combat this pandemic collectively. It demands common efforts

Kathmandu, March 15

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who took the initiative to conduct a video conference with SAARC members to contain the spread of coronavirus, made an initial offer of $10 million for COVID-19 Emergency Fund during the video conference held this evening.

SAARC leaders welcomed Modi’s proposal for the emergency fund and his initiative to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is clear that we have to work together. We can respond best by coming together, not growing apart; collaboration, not confusion; preparation, not panic,” Modi said.

The fund can be used by any of the partner countries to meet the cost of immediate actions.

Modi said India was assembling a rapid response team of doctors and specialists, along with testing kits and other equipment, which will be on stand-by, to be placed at the disposal of the countries, if required.

He added that SAARC states could create a common research platform to coordinate research on controlling epidemics within South Asia.

Modi said his government had set up an Integrated Disease Surveillance Portal to better trace possible virus carriers and the people they contacted, adding that his government could share the disease surveillance software with SAARC partners.

“We must all prepare together, we must all act together, and we must all succeed together,” he added.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who is recovering from kidney transplant, took part in the conference and told leaders that Nepal had taken several measures to enhance its preparedness against the pandemic.

He said his government’s efforts at the moment were geared towards preventing the disease from entering the country.

“Our region is at high risk of COVID-19. The epidemic knows no boundary, nationality or region. We need to devise ways to combat this pandemic collectively. It is a common challenge and it demands common efforts,” said Oli.

The PM said SAARC members might think of developing a SAARC-level mechanism to deal with critical health issues. Establishment of a SAARC emergency medical centre supported by strong funding mechanism is the need of the hour, he added. He said Nepal would join the COVID-19 fund soon.

Oli said regional discussion on reviving the member states’ economies and supporting each other through providing easy access, establishing value chains and promoting intra-regional trade, investment, tourism and connectivity would be critically important. SAARC leaders wished the PM a quick recovery.

President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani said the greatest vulnerability of Afghanistan was an open border with Iran.

President of the Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih highlighted the negative impact of COVID-19 on the country’s tourism sector.

He proposed to formulate economic relief package and long term recovery plan for the region.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa recommended establishment of a SAARC ministerial-level group to share best practices and coordinate regional matters on combating COVID-19.

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina proposed continuance of the dialogue at a technical level through video conference between health ministers and secretaries of the region.

Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering said SAARC members states needed to work together to confront the challenge posed by COVID-19.

Pakistan’s Minister of State for Health Zafar Mirza proposed hosting SAARC Health Ministers’ conference and development of regional mechanisms to share disease surveillance data in real time.

Chiefs of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan took part in the meeting. Pakistan was represented by its Minister of State for Health Zafar Mirza.

The video conference was telecast live.


A version of this article appears in print on March 16, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

First Arab Ama Dablam Expedition makes successful attempt on Thursday

KATHMANDU: A team from Seven Summit Treks ‘First Arab Ama Dablam Expedition’ comprising Qatari climber Fahad Badar, Sherief Elabd from Eygpt and Nadhira Al Harthy from Oman have attempted Mt Ama Dablam (6812 m) on January 14. The winter ascent to Ama dablam consisted of at least 14 climbers w Read More...

Biden unveils $1.9T plan to stem COVID-19 and steady economy

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE: President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan Thursday to end “a crisis of deep human suffering” by speeding up vaccines and pumping out financial help to those struggling with the pandemic’s prolonged economic fallout. Called the “American Read More...

Mobile data users abandoning Ncell for NT

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 14 Mobile data users in the country are increasingly abandoning Ncell and subscribing state-owned Nepal Telecom. At least that is what the data compiled by Nepal Telecommunications Authority reveals. According to the Management Information System of NTA, 60 per cent of the t Read More...

Rival NCP factions hold standing committee meetings

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 14 Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal held its Standing Committee meeting and discussed ways to effectively carry out its protest programme against dissolution of the House of Representatives. NCP (Dahal-Nepal) Spokesperson Naryan Ka Read More...

Security personnel of Khotang District Police Office destroy cannabis planted illegally by the locals in Durchim VDC of Khotang district on Monday, December 21, 2015. Photo: RSS

Cops intensify drive to destroy cannabis, opium plants

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 14 Nepal Police destroyed cannabis and opium plants cultivated in a large swathe of land across the country in the fiscal year 2019-20, according to an annual report recently released by the Ministry of Home Affairs. According to the report, cannabis plants being cultivated Read More...

WHO supports member countries to end COVID-19 pandemic

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 14 Member countries in the World Health Organisation South-East Asia Region are gearing up for massive vaccination campaigns in a bid to end the COVID-19 pandemic. The WHO South-East Asia Region has 11 member countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic o Read More...

Bhattarai calls for decisive agitation

DAMAULI, JANUARY 14 Janata Samaj Party-Nepal Federal Council Chairperson Baburam Bhattarai has stressed the need of a decisive struggle to protect democracy and the constitution. Accusing Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli of putting the constitution and democracy at risk by dissolving the Parliamen Read More...

Locals protest East-West Railway survey

BARA, JANUARY 14 The locals have protested a survey of the East-West Railway in Bara. The locals were up in arms after a survey was done affecting the main settlement in the bazaar area of Nijgadh Municipality. According to the survey team Incharge Suraj Poudel, the locals impeded the d Read More...