In coordination with the local authorities and the Indian missions in the Saarc region, the supplies are being sent out.
Close on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi setting up the $10 million SAARC Emergency Fund to fight Covid-19, so far the quataum of requests received has crossed $1 million. According to the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Raveesh Kumar, “Supplies to the neighbouring countries including Bhutan and the Maldives have already been dispatched and requests from other member states of the Saarc are under various stages of the process.”
In coordination with the local authorities and the Indian missions in the Saarc region, the supplies are being sent out. These include masks, gloves, disinfectants and other items like testing equipment and sanitizers, Fumigation system.
According to officials, there is a team of officials working round the clock in the MEA Headquarters at the COVID cell, to help in dispatching of the help. Other Saarc member countries are also expected to contribute to the emergency fund that has been set up and is already operational.
Informal for the Rapid Response Teams from Nepal and Maldives is being followed up.
The Prime Minister in his video conferencing with the Saarc leaders had offered to organise special online training capsules for the emergency response teams. India has also offered the software of Integrated Disease Surveillance Portal and this helps to locate potential virus carriers and the people they make contact with.
MEA has set up Covid-19 control room where there are 48 officers handling 16 different regions with 24×7 helplines and the number of officers handling will be increased gradually.
Responding to media queries, Dammu Ravi, Additional Secretary of MEA said that the helplines have been set up to respond to specific queries coming from across the globe.
Anyone one can call the 24×7 helplines situated in the MEA Headquarters at the following numbers: 1800118797 (toll free); +91-11-23012113, +91-11-23014104 and +91-11-23017905. Also, there is a fax number: +91-11-23018158 in case anyone wants to send an email they can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org
According to MEA geographical areas include Sri Lanka and Maldives; Bangladesh and Myanmar; Singapore and Philippines; and in Europe except for Italy and Spain; Iran and Afghanistan; USA/Canada; Latin America and Caribbean region, Africa; Russia and Central Asia; Gulf, China, Japan/Korea/Mongolia, Nepal/Bhutan, South East Asia excluding Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia.
Even the Bureau of Immigration (BOI) has also set up a 24×7 control room.
Over the weekend, the MEA is planning to send out a flight to bring back Indians stranded in Rome who have tested negative.