Islamabad (Agencies): South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) leaders on Saturday held a video conference to formulate a joint strategy for curbing the spread of novel coronavirus in the region.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza will take part in the conference, representing Pakistan.
Indian Prime Minister Modi had on Friday proposed the video conference involving all members of Saarc. He had said: “I would like to propose that the leadership of SAARC nations chalk out a strong strategy to fight coronavirus. We could discuss, via video conferencing, ways to keep our citizens healthy. Together, we can set an example to the world, and contribute to a healthier planet.”
The idea was welcomed by all countries in the region and Pakistan immediately confirmed its participation. Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui tweeted: “The threat of #COVID-19 requires coordinated efforts at global and regional level. We have communicated that SAPM on Health will be available to participate in the video conference of #SAARC member countries on the issue”.
The threat of #COVID-19 requires coordinated efforts at global and regional level. We have communicated that SAPM on Health will be available to participate in the video conference of #SAARC member countries on the issue.— Spokesperson ???????? MoFA (@ForeignOfficePk) March 13, 2020
South Asia is on edge after an increase in the number of confirmed cases. India has 84 confirmed cases, Pakistan 30, Afghanistan 11, Sri Lanka 10, Maldives 9, Bangladesh 3, and one each in Nepal and Bhutan. Two deaths from novel coronavirus have been reported from India.
All countries have individually taken measures to prevent transmission of virus within their borders. Pakistan on Friday announced sealing of borders with Iran and Afghanistan, closure of educational institutions, marriage halls, and cinema/theaters, besides asking courts to adjourn cases.