To neighbours, PM moots special visa scheme for medical staff

Doctors and nurses could travel quickly within region during emergencies, on the request of receiving country, he says

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday suggested that neighbouring countries should consider creating a special visa scheme for doctors and nurses, so that they could travel quickly within the region during health emergencies, on the request of the receiving country.

Mr. Modi was addressing a workshop on ‘COVID-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward’ with nearly 10 neighbouring nations, including Pakistan.

India was hosting the secretary-level virtual meeting, chaired by Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

Regional air ambulance

The Prime Minister stated that civil aviation ministries could coordinate a regional air ambulance agreement for medical contingencies and countries could come together to create a regional platform for collating, compiling and studying data about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines among populations.

Highlighting the work done during the pandemic, he noted that when COVID-19 hit the world last year, many experts voiced special concern about ‘our densely populated region’.

“But, from the very beginning, we all met this challenge with a coordinated response. In March last, we were the first to come together for recognising the threat and committing to fight it together. Many other regions and groups followed our early example,’’ he said.

“Today, the hopes of our region and the world are focused on rapid deployment of vaccines. In this too, we must maintain the same cooperative and collaborative spirit,’’ he added.

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