Addressing the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) leaders and representatives on March 15 via a video conference, PM Narendra Modi had proposed COVID-19 Emergency Fund to collectively combat the deadly coronavirus, which has claimed 14,923 lives and infected over 343,779 people globally. PM Modi also proposed an initial offer of USD 10 million from India for the purpose.
After Modi's proposal, all SAARC nations - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka - except Pakistan responded to PM Modi's call and have contributed towards the COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
In spite of the rising number of positive cases of coronavirus in Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan ruled out lockdown in the country. He instead advised the citizens to self-quarantine to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. “Pakistan currently does not have the capacity to provide the entire nation with food at home if a lockdown is imposed in the country,” said Imran on Sunday during his address to the nation. However, he added that if the situation was similar to that of Italy, he would have imposed a lockdown.
Earlier, the Pakistan Prime Minsiter also sought a debt waiver for vulnerable countries, expressing his concern over poverty and hunger as a consequence of the pandemic.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his gratitude to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for contributing $ 1.5 million, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for contributing $ 5 million and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani for contributing 1 million dollars to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
Earlier, Maldives contributed 200,000 USD, Bhutan contributed 100,000 dollars and Nepal contributed NPR 10 crores to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund.