Published:  03:13 AM, 23 March 2020

BD to contribute $1.5m to Saarc fund

BD to contribute $1.5m to Saarc fund

Bangladesh has decided to contribute US$ 1.5 million to the Saarc Emergency Fund proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fight coronavirus in the South Asian region.

Earlier, India announced to give US$ 10 million to the fund while Nepal and Afghanistan declared to provide US$ 1 million each and Maldives and Bhutan committed US$ 200,000 and US$ 100,000 respectively. Bangladesh is the sixth country to join the regional initiative to fight the spread of the virus under a common strategy.

Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen told media that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday verbally approved the fund in favor of Saarc secretariat to face health hazards due to outbreak of the coronavirus in region.Momen said the foreign ministry will send note verbal to Saarc secretariat and Indian government about Bangladesh's commitment to provide US$ 1.5 million.

On March 15, during the video conference among Saarc leaders, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed creation of the fund and made an initial offer of US$ 10 million.The total contribution, from six Saarc countries, now stands at US$ 13.8 million. Pakistan and Sri Lanka are yet to make any announcement on contributing to the voluntary fund.

The aim of the fund is to help any of Saarc nations meet the cost of emergent actions to combat this pandemic. Foreign Secretaries of the Saarc countries will finalize concept and operational rules.According to Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) three more people have tested positive for coronavirus in Bangladesh, raising the cases of total infected to 27.

Of the 27 cases that tested positive for coronavirus, five were released after treatment, two died and 20 others are currently undergoing treatment at different hospitals.Coronavirus cases pass 300,000 with more than 13,000 deaths around the world and 93,000 people have recovered so far.

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