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Commonweath nations join hands against COVID fight. Pixabay

Commonwealth Health Ministers, including India’s Harsh Vardhan, have agreed to coordinate their response in tackling the COVID pandemic, its secretariat based in London said on Thursday. India will chair the next meeting of the Commonwealth Health Ministers in May 2021.

The Ministers endorsed removing fees for coronavirus tests and treatment, especially for migrants and refugees, as appropriate within national contexts, and creating a voluntary mechanism to share and distribute extra medical supplies, including ventilators and testing kits. They agreed on the need for solidarity and cooperation among Commonwealth countries and that close working with the World Health Organization (WHO) throughout the crisis was vital.


This statement was released following the annual Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting held on May 14. Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “We are now participants at an inflection point in history, and how we will be seen will be determined by how we act, right now, in this moment.

“The virus knows no nationality, race, religion, border or economic status. It is an interconnected issue threatening our global health and world economic order, and should be dealt with as such — guided by a culture of multilateral compassion and cooperation — not competition. “At this critical moment, invigorated by our common pain and concern, Commonwealth countries have come together to provide the salve we need to deliver a coordinated multilateral response that will help thwart the pandemic and keep our citizens safe.”


Commonwealth Nations to battle COVID together. Wikimedia commons

Globally, 5,000,038 coronavirus cases have been reported. Half a million of these are in the Commonwealth. Seven member states are among 12 nations worldwide that have not reported any cases. The fast-spreading virus has contracted economies, shattered income streams and forced millions of people to stay indoors.

The Health Ministers backed the need for unified action to recover from the economic turmoil accompanying the pandemic, while addressing critical health challenges and health systems’ vulnerability, particularly to recurring climate-related events. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “While coronavirus is an unprecedented shock to the world; through national unity and global solidarity, we can save both lives and livelihoods.

“Across the Commonwealth, countries will need to balance the demands of responding directly to coronavirus, while also maintaining essential health services.” Ministers pledged to keep essential health services running for non-COVID-19 patients with a critical non-communicable or infectious disease while dealing with an influx of coronavirus cases.

They agreed to work with Finance Ministers to promote sustainable strategies to finance the implementation of universal health coverage with a focus on providing healthcare to women, the elderly, young people, marginalised persons and those with mental illness without facing financial difficulty.


Commonwealth Health Ministers, including India’s Harsh Vardhan, have agreed to coordinate their response in tackling the coronavirus pandemic. Pixabay

Gambia’s Health Minister Ahmadou Lamin Samateh chaired the meeting. He said: “Not since the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 2000s has health occupied such a central position in development policy. “With an unprecedented pandemic, straining health systems and halting the global economy, the role of resilient health systems across the world has come into full focus.”

Also Read: The COVID-19 Impact Might Not Be All Bad For Indian Weddings

During the meeting, ministers presented effective national strategies to address the pandemic, which included a mass test, trace and isolate strategy, digital tools to monitor health status and track transmission routes and a clear communication line. (IANS)


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Rihanna was summoned from her seat to accept the honour, with the Prime Minister.

Singer Rihanna was honoured by Prime Minister Mia Mottley at an event which marked Barbados's new status as a republic, which was attended by Prince Charles. Addressing the pop star by her real name, the PM said: "Robyn Rihanna Fenty tomorrow morning shall have conferred upon her the order of national hero of Barbados."

Rihanna was then summoned from her seat to accept the honor, with the Prime Minister managing to rouse a laugh from the singer when she referenced her 2012 hit 'Diamonds', reports femalefirst.co.uk. She added: "On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you, the designee, for the national hero of Barbados." "And to accept on behalf of a grateful nation - you can come my dear - ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty, may you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation." Rihanna, who was born in the St Michael parish of Barbados, found fame in 2005 after being spotted by a record producer and has since gone on to become one of the most successful female artists of all time with sales of over 250 million and recently reached billionaire status through her Fenty beauty brand.

The Prime Minister continued in her speech: "Commanding the imagination of the world through the pursuit of excellence, her creativity, her discipline, and above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth. "Having satisfied that, Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty has given service to Barbados which has been exemplified by visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and the attaining of the highest excellence to the Government of Barbados." It comes after a historic move for Barbados, which has become a republic after almost 400 years and welcomes its first president, Sandra Mason, after removing Queen Elizabeth as head of state. (IANS/ MBI)


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