‘Regional countries must get together to fight COVID-19’ | Daily News

‘Regional countries must get together to fight COVID-19’

China, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan held a ministerial-level video conference on COVID-19 chaired by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui on November 10.

Regional Cooperation State Minister of Sri Lanka Tharaka Balasuriya, Foreign Secretary Of Bangladesh Masud Bin Momen, Foreign Secretary of Nepal Bharat Raj Paudyal, and Foreign Secretary of Pakistan Sohail Mahmood participated.

Vice Minister Luo Zhao said that the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic is hitting the world and the global economy is in a deep recession.

“As developing countries and friendly neighbours, the five countries face similar challenges in responding to the epidemic and restoring their economies,” he said.

“We should consolidate the consensus on fighting COVID-19, continue cooperation, and transmit the “positive energy” of regional countries facing challenges,” he said.

The Chair of the conference gave an introduction on China’s latest achievements and experience in the fight against COVID-19 and China’s economic recovery and efforts to accelerate the establishment of a “dual circulation” development pattern, in which domestic economic cycle plays a leading role while international economic cycle remains its extension and supplement.

State Minister Balasuriya briefed other four countries about Sri Lanka’s strategies and achievements in the fight against pandemic. Among the multiple measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 includes localised lockdowns, limiting inter-district travel, and discouraging movement of individuals. In addition, steps have also been taken to introduce the ‘work from home’ concept to schools, universities and also places of work. He also praised the very effective public health system throughout the country and the effective contribution of the public by cooperating with the authorities and adhering to health guidelines.

Balasuriya appreciated the support received from donor countries including China, which provided equipment and medical supplies, and said that a significant shortfall in resources in the wake of a second wave. The Minister, therefore, proposed that regional countries to cooperate in sharing of rapid testing equipment, ventilators and experiences in diagnostics, treatment and medicine.