Pakistan will host a video conference of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health, Dr Zafar Mirza, will lead the Pakistani delegation in the conference which will also be attended by SAARC secretary-general, said FO spokesperson.

The FO statement also said that the member countries will share their experiences to contain the virus besides holding discussions over enhancing cooperation to cope with the crisis.

“In addition to exchanging updates on the status of national containment efforts, 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,” the FO added.

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.

The video conference is also 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, the statement further added.