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Feb 24, 2020 / 15:42

ASEAN-China cooperation against Covid-19: Transparent information sharing

They consider the sharing of information is a decisive measure to address challenges and control the epidemic.

ASEAN member states have worked with China to seek the best way to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which now hits six out of 10 bloc countries.

ASEAN and China have agreed that their decisive measure to address COVID-19 is through prompt sharing of information and other significant efforts to contain the epidemic as well as to protect regional and global public health security.

Foreign ministers of ASEAN states and China at a meeting in Laos. Photo: MOFA 

With China being the major tourist market, ASEAN has emphasized the growing urgency and need for cooperation in COVID-19 surveillance, prevention, detection, and control, according to the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) held in Laos last week.

In reality, ASEAN and China have close links and are each other’s major tourist destinations with an annual travel flow of over 65 million visits and China being the largest trading partner of ASEAN while ASEAN is the second-largest trading partner of China.

They recognized the cross-border challenges posed by COVID-19 and the important contribution to global public health by strengthening ASEAN-China and international cooperation to collectively tackle these challenges to protect peoples’ health, safety, and the socio-economic development of countries.

 Vietnam, the chair of ASEAN 2020, at the meeting. Photo: MOFA

To this end, they agreed to:

Step up cooperation in the region against COVID-19 by sharing information and best practices in a timely manner, including exchanging available epidemiological information, technical guidelines and solutions;

Strengthen cooperation within ASEAN-led mechanisms and with external partners to address COVID-19 in a comprehensive and effective manner, taking into account the different levels of development of health systems in the region;

Strengthen cooperation in risk communication and community engagement readiness and response to ensure that people are rightly and thoroughly informed on COVID-19 and are not being misled by misinformation and fake news pertaining to COVID-19;

Strengthen policy dialogue and exchanges on the latest development of COVID-19, including its control and treatment, and its related study and research through existing mechanisms such as the ASEAN-China Health Ministers’ Meeting (ACHMM) and the ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Meeting on Health Development (ACSOMHD) to fully implement the ASEAN-China MOU on Health Cooperation and support more mutually agreed cooperation projects;

Work together to enhance the capacity to prevent and control emerging and re-emerging infectious and communicable diseases such as COVID-19, engage in exchanges of relevant data and technology, experience and capacity building, including training of health and medical personnel, mutual visits of medical experts and other health workers, as well as the possibility of holding an ASEAN-China Workshop on Health Emergency Personnel;

Mitigate supply chain disruptions of urgent medical goods and promote research and development of medicines and vaccines;

Support enterprises affected by the epidemic, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), as appropriate, including through the promotion of digital economy to facilitate economic activity during epidemics and make full use of the ASEAN-China Year of Digital Economy Cooperation;

Support the use of information and communication technologies for the continued development of public health.

Commit to reducing the impact of the epidemic on the economic and social development of all affected countries, jointly maintaining people-to-people exchanges, trade, and investment activities in the region.