New Delhi: In the wake of the Coronavirus scare, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday proposed to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member nations that they create a “COVID-19 emergency fund”. Modi also offered an initial contribution from the Indian side of 10 million US dollars for this fund. Also Read - SAARC Video Conference: This is What Member Countries Said About Tackling Coronavirus

Notably, PM Modi, today joined in a video conference along with leaders and representatives from SAARC nations to chalk out a joint strategy to fight the coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 5,000 people worldwide. Also Read - 'Prepare, But Don't Panic' Has Been India's Mantra in Tackling Coronavirus: PM Modi Tells SAARC Leaders

“I propose, we create a #COVID19 emergency fund. This could be based on voluntary contributions from all of us. India can start with an initial offer of 10 million US dollars for this fund,” PM Modi said at a video conference of all SAARC member countries. Also Read - Coronavirus Video Conference of SAARC Countries on PM Modi's Proposal: What to Expect

PM Modi also suggested that they create a common research platform, to coordinate research on controlling epidemic diseases within the South Asian region. “The Indian Council of Medical Research can offer help coordinating such an exercise,” PM Modi said.

Speaking on the efforts made by India to combat the new coronavirus, Modi asserted, “We are assembling a Rapid Response Team of doctors and specialists in India, along with testing kits and other equipment. They will be on stand-by, to be placed at your disposal, if required.”

“We have set up an Integrated Disease Surveillance Portal to better trace possible virus carriers and the people they contacted. We could share this Disease Surveillance software with SAARC partners, and training on using this,” the Prime Minister stated.