By Viet Nam News/ANN
The meeting was attended by the foreign ministers of the 10 member countries of ASEAN.
The ACC has played an active role in coordinating and promoting ASEAN’s synchronous and inter-sectoral efforts fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following up on the February 20 meeting, this event continued to examine the directions and measures for ASEAN coordination for containing the spread of the virus and mitigate its impacts on society and the economy.
The ministers believed that ASEAN, more than ever, should uphold its cohesive and responsive spirit so as to effectively contain the pandemic and alleviate its socio-economic impacts, including supporting enterprises and the people, especially micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and disadvantaged groups, ensuring social security and building plans for economic recovery.
They underlined the immediate priority of stopping the spread of the pandemic, and reiterated the need to quickly, drastically and seriously implement measures already adopted by many countries such as physical distancing, tracing sources of infection and quarantining.
In that spirit, the ministers approved recommendations submitted by the ACC Working Group on Public Health Emergencies (ACCWG-PHE), which focused on three aspects: containing and preventing the spread of COVID-19; supporting people in ASEAN countries affected, including giving consular assistance to ASEAN citizens living, working and studying in other ASEAN member countries or third countries; and mitigating the socio-economic impacts.
Addressing the meeting, Deputy PM and FM Phạm Bình Minh shared Viet Nam’s experience in taking early, concerted and flexible responding measures, and mobilising the participation of the entire political system, all-level administrations, all sectors and the people, including the support of the military and the use of military facilities. As a result, Việt Nam has reaped initial positive outcomes in containing the virus.
Deputy PM Minh stressed that ASEAN should continue to promote the comprehensive, concerted, inter-sectoral and inter-pillar approach of the entire ASEAN Community, as well as the cooperation with partners in preventing and combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
He clarified and thanked countries for supporting Việt Nam’s proposals on strengthening ASEAN’s joint efforts in responding to COVID-19, such as setting up the region’s reserves of medical supplies and essential goods to meet needs in emergency, building a common response process of ASEAN in health emergencies based on guidance of the WHO, and organising online drills of the ASEAN Centre of Military Medicine on responding to epidemics.
The ACC discussed preparations for the Special Summits of ASEAN and ASEAN+3 (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) on responding to COVID-19 in the form of video conference, slated to be held on April 14. The ministers took note of information shared by Việt Nam on the organization plan and documents scheduled to be adopted at those summits.
The ministers affirmed that they will coordinate closely with each other, with the ASEAN Chair – Việt Nam, and with the partners to best prepare for those important events.
At the end of the meeting, the ministers took turns to declare, in their respective languages, their commitment to unity among ASEAN countries in the fight against COVID-19. VNS