Pakistan will host a video conference of SAARC member states today (Thursday) to discuss a joint response of the regional countries to COVID-19 pandemic.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Health Dr. Zafar Mirza will lead the Pakistan delegation.
Besides ministers/senior officials, the meeting will be attended by Secretary General SAARC, Esala Ruwan Weerakon, said Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui.
She said that the virtual meeting takes forward Pakistan's earlier initiative to host the SAARC Health ministers meeting, which has assumed urgency in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to exchanging updates on the status of national containment efforts, she said that the Conference will deliberate on ways to promote deeper cooperation to combat the crisis, including inter alia through strengthening disease surveillance, sharing best practices, building national capacities, coordinating research efforts and promoting regional and international linkages.
"High population densities and fragile health systems render South Asia, which is home to one-fifth of humanity, vulnerable to the pandemic. Closer coordination among regional countries through utilization of all available institutional mechanisms, including the SAARC platform, remains important for combating the disease," she said.
The spokesperson added that the video conference is part of Pakistan's efforts to foster greater cooperation at the regional level to effectively overcome the public health crisis, and mitigate its socio-economic impact.