Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, July 9th, 2020

Ghani Proposes SAARC Task Force to Fight Coronavirus

Ghani Proposes SAARC  Task Force to Fight Coronavirus

KABUL - Leaders from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) held a video conference on Sunday to coordinate their efforts on fighting the new coronavirus (COVID-19) spread in the South Asian countries.
“Our vulnerability comes from our openness. We have open borders with Iran, one of the major centers-- and the flow cannot be stopped,” President Ashraf Ghani said during the video conference.
Ghani made five suggestions in the meeting to fight the spread of COVID-19:
1.    A task force of SAARC.
“Modeling of diffusion impacts and scenarios for management--unless we model the diffusion, we would be facing assumptions from China or the United States or Iran,” Ghani said, adding that such models “are not suitable to our situation.” Ghani continued, “I request a task force of SAARC to...do this.”
2.    A common framework for telemedicine.
Ghani suggested telemedicine because the impact of the virus will be “particularly on poor and vulnerable women,” he said, and there was a need for a “common framework for telemedicine, for diagnosis of related issues...as advances take place” to allow for coordination.
3.    Coordinate efforts to create controlled flows.
“As a landlocked country, which is simultaneously the heart of Asia, closing of borders...will result in significant problems regarding availability of food, medicine and basic goods,” said Ghani.
“Can we coordinate to be able to create controlled flows that both allow transactions to take place while focusing on the essentials?” Ghani asked.
4.    Distance education.
“How do we keep women, youth and children occupied?” Ghani asked. Noting that India and South Asia are “leaders in distance education,” Ghani proposed that the SAARC satellite and India satellite be made available” to keep people connected because otherwise “social distancing that is necessary cannot just take place,” he said.
5.    Coordination between SAARC and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
“Coordination between SAARC and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization… How much of the experience of China is replicable to our situations and how do we both learn and help Iran?” Ghani asked.
In the video conference, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed a Covid-19 emergency fund and pledged $10 million.
“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. (TOLO NEWS)