Feb 16, 2020 / 02:14

ASEAN offers solidarity and heartfelt support for China in battling coronavirus

The Hanoitimes - The 10-nation bloc vows to take coordinated action to fight the new coronavirus.

ASEAN nations have expressed their solidarity and heartfelt support for the government and people of China, and for all countries around the world, in their fight against the outbreak of the new coronavirus disease (Covid-19), Vietnam, which is holding chairmanship of ASEAN, has said in a statement on the bloc’s collective response to the outbreak of disease.

The statement emphasized that the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN member states are seriously concerned over the outbreak of Covid-19.

 The opening ceremony of the 35th ASEAN Summit on November 3, 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand.

“We emphasize the importance of ASEAN solidarity and the spirit of a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community in facing the outbreak of the Covid-19 and similar challenges,” reads the statement released by the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

The bloc recognizes the critical importance of an orchestrated response and collective actions of ASEAN in curbing the spread of the disease, and is determined to work closely and actively with ASEAN’s partners and the international community to mitigate the adverse impacts of the Covid-19.

The statements also lists measures the member states will take to address the disease, including  timely sharing of information, experiences and best practices among ASEAN member states, between ASEAN and China, other partners, the WHO and international organizations, on the prevention, detection, and treatment of the Covid-19 infections.

In addition, the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) is tasked with monitoring and making proper reports and recommendations to the 36th ASEAN Summit.

A MOFA spokesperson said last week that Vietnam is making efforts to connect ASEAN state members fighting against coronavirus epidemic, and the ASEAN chair suggested setting up a Joint Ministerial Working Group in ASEAN to cope with the epidemic.

As the chair of the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC), Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh suggested that ASEAN and Chinese foreign ministers meet in Laos on the occasion of the fifth Mekong - Lancang Cooperation (MLC) Foreign Ministers' Meeting to discuss further cooperation in coping with the Covid-19 epidemic.

The Covid-19 has infected 67,191 people around the globe as of February 15 evening, including 66,496 in China and 695 in 28 countries and territories outside China. The death toll has risen to 1,527.

In Southeast Asian, the virus has been found in Singapore (72), Thailand (34), Malaysia (21), Vietnam (16), the Philippines (3), and Cambodia (1).