Theweekendleader

Maldives moots long-term SAARC recovery package in COVID VC

New Delhi

15-March-2020

The President of the Maldives has called for formulating a long-term recovery plan for SAARC countries as part of a regional strategy to fight COVID-19.

Speaking during the Video Conference of SAARC Leaders on combating COVID-19, on Sunday, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mahamed Solih said lowered tourist footfalls from China and Italy to the Maldives, has led to a loss of US $450 million foreign currency the island nation.

Solih said if the current trends continue, Maldives faces a potential foreign currency shortfall between US $135.9 million to US $446.6 million, severely affecting the country's development plans.

Thanking India for its support to Maldives, the Maldivian President made three proposals for the regional strategy against COVID-19.

The proposals include closer cooperation between health agencies of the member countries, an economic relief package for affected countries, and a regional long-term recovery plan for member countries economically affected by the pandemic.

Maldives has reported 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 till date.

The video conference of SAARC leaders to combat COVID-19 was convened at the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The participants at the conference on Sunday include the Prime Ministers of India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Presidents of Afghanistan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, and Pakistan's minister of state for health. IANS