Health experts from SAARC countries will form a WhatsApp or an email group to exchange information on the coronavirus pandemic in real-time, officials said on Friday. This was one of the proposals made by New Delhi at the video-conferencing of SAARC health professionals on Thursday. It was a follow-up to the SAARC leaders’ conference on March 15.
“India proposed a shared electronic platform for all SAARC nations to share and exchange information, knowledge, expertise and best practices for jointly combating the coronavirus epidemic,” a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs. “It was informed that considerable work has already gone into creation of the platform, which could also serve as a multipurpose vehicle to further discuss and conduct activities such as online training for emergency response personnel, knowledge partnerships, sharing of expertise in disease surveillance, including the corresponding software, and joint research for new diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for epidemic diseases.”
The statement said the Indian side proposed that till such time the electronic platform is fully operational, “a network of experts representing the Health Services of all SAARC countries may set up on email/whatsapp to enable exchange of all relevant information between the SAARC countries on real time basis”.
The statement said a comprehensive presentation was made on India’s response to the outbreak, covering the aspects of disease surveillance, contact tracing, travel restrictions and evacuation, risk assessment, diagnostics, isolation and quarantine methods and facilities, clinical management of patients, treatment options and protocols and safety of healthcare providers.
Likewise, all other SAARC countries shared their own experiences of dealing with the challenge in their respective settings, the statement said. The countries also highlighted their specific vulnerabilities, capacities, best practices, gaps in resources and logistics, private sector participation and levels of preparedness, it added.
“The enthusiastic and constructive participation by all SAARC member states demonstrated the shared commitment to work together to defeat the challenge posed by the coronavirus epidemic,” the MEA stated.
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