SCO health ministers advocate combining efforts of SCO member states to combat COVID-19 pandemic

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On 24 July 2020, the 3rd Meeting of Health Ministers of the SCO Member States, chaired by Russian Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko, took place via videoconference.

SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov addressed the participants and noted the high level of solidarity and mutual support of the SCO member countries in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the importance of developing prompt and coordinated measures in the fight against various pandemics.

Vladimir Norov briefly spoke about the results of the recent online meetings and seminars of experts, during which the participants made many useful proposals. He also emphasised the need to improve the legal framework and efficiency of the SCO working mechanisms in healthcare.

In this regard, the SCO Secretary-General mentioned the proposal of the SCO Secretariat on establishing a coordination council to jointly counteract disease outbreaks in the SCO space. This mechanism will help the member states to develop and implement comprehensive measures in preventing, early reporting, responding and mitigating the negative impact of epidemiology diseases.

Vladimir Norov emphasised the importance of the upcoming SCO Summit in St Petersburg, during which a large package of measures and documents will be adopted, including a comprehensive action plan on counteracting epidemic threats in the SCO space.

"Given the grave threat of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, especially important are coordinated joint efforts and mutual support that will allow us to overcome this emergency and stop the spread of the pandemic. In these conditions, the efficiency of this mechanism of practical interaction, such as the Meeting of Health Ministers of the SCO Member States, is increasing improving," Vladimir Norov concluded.

The ministers discussed the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic in the SCO member countries. In order to promote the best practices and positive experience in combatting the coronavirus, the Overview of the Best Practices of the SCO Member States to counter the spread of the virus has been adopted.

In the Final Communique, the participants highlighted the need to combine the efforts of the SCO member states in the fight against the pandemic of the novel coronavirus infection and to coordinate steps in counteracting epidemics in the SCO space.

The ministers supported the need for resolute, coordinated and inclusive multilateral efforts, with the central role of the UN, in accordance with the rules, recommendations and policy of the WHO.

They noted the special importance of effective coordination of efforts of the SCO member states in the prevention, detection and joint response to epidemics.

The ministers stated their intent to further strengthen such cooperation in the interests of the health and wellbeing of the people of the SCO member states.