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Feb 20, 2020 / 12:04

ASEAN defense forces join hands to combat Covid-19

Conducting drills is one of measures that the regional defense forces have planned to cope with the epidemic.

Ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have issued a joint statement on non-traditional security cooperation in which they will join hands to cope with the Covid-19 epidemic.

 Vietnam’s Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich at the meeting on Feb 19 in Hanoi. Photo: Tienphong

The statement was released at the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Retreat (ADMM Retreat) opened in Hanoi on February 19 under the chairing of Vietnam’s Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich.

It focuses on substantive cooperation among ASEAN defense forces to share information and action plans under the bilateral or multilateral mechanisms, including drills among the bloc’s military clinics. Vietnam has pledged to conduct these activities as soon as possible to cope with the epidemic.

It is important to mobilize the support by experts on chemicals, biology, and radiation to boost scientific research and cooperation against the Covid-19 epidemic.

It also encourages initiatives that focus on new cooperation mechanisms to contribute to the combined efforts against the epidemic to ensure that people would be provided with sufficient information of the epidemic without falsified news.

 The ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Retreat (ADMM Retreat) opened in Hanoi on Feb 19. Photo: Tienphong 

ASEAN agencies keep close contact with each other and other countries worldwide for better control of the epidemic.

Each country should promote public health and make full use of the regional cooperation on health to have better control of it.

Vietnam, as the chair of ASEAN 2020, on February 15 issued a statement on joint response among ASEAN state members to the Covid-19 epidemic.

Signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the statement showed that the bloc will work together and prioritize its response to the Covid-19 epidemic.

Early this month, the ASEAN Center for Military Medicine held an urgent consultation to discuss the region’s response to the coronavirus. The engagement highlighted one aspect of Southeast Asia’s ongoing response to the coronavirus.

The ACMM was launched in Thailand back in 2016 to drive cooperation among the medical services of the region’s armies in various ways, including developing response plans, assessing needs in crisis situations, and conducting training and research in emergency medical services.

So far, six out of ten ASEAN members have suffered from the Covid-19 outbreak, including Singapore with 84 infected cases, Thailand -- 35, Malaysia -- 22, Vietnam -- 16 (14 have recovered), the Philippines -- 3, and Cambodia -- 1.