Vietnam will continue supporting countries hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, maintain normal economic activities with them, and provide them with basic necessities, including food, as needed, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said
when addressing the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 held online on April 14.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (C) addresses Special ASEAN Summit
The PM spoke highly of ASEAN member states’ joining hands with Vietnam in responding to the pandemic from the very early days.
He appreciated their backing of Vietnam’s proposals, such as establishing the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund, setting up a reserve for medical supplies to meet urgent needs during epidemics, organising an online drill of defence forces, and setting up a task force of senior ASEAN information officials to combat fake news.
PM Phuc emphasised the need for ASEAN to support those affected, work together in mitigating the virus’s impact on socio-economic development, and propose measures to speed up economic recovery.
ASEAN leaders also expressed their political commitment to fighting COVID-19.
They said joint efforts by the bloc have seen encouraging initial results, with the number of infections in the region being much lower than elsewhere.
They also affirmed that the top priority of the bloc at this moment is to control and prevent the spread of the disease, in particular tackling cross-border infections.
ASEAN needs to take action to minimise the socio-economic impact, protect local people, and support micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
The leaders also discussed measures to facilitate economic recovery, including strengthening intra-bloc trade, speeding up negotiations over economic cooperation agreements, and implementing economic stimulus packages.
Concluding the teleconference, the leaders adopted the Declaration of the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19.
Thailand pushes forward establishment of ASEAN Response Fund to curb COVID-19
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha speaks at the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 on April 14.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha plans to push ahead with a proposal to set up the ASEAN Response Fund (ARF) as part of a six-point declaration to be endorsed by the ten ASEAN leaders as they join hands to fight COVID-19, Bangkok Post reported.
The widely-spreading COVID-19 pandemic has forced the grouping to hold the first ever summit teleconference, chaired by Vietnamese Prime Minister and ASEAN Chair Nguyen Xuan Phuc, on April 14. It was the second time ASEAN has discussed the COVID-19 since the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Coronavirus Disease held in Vientiane, Laos in February.
Prayut’s plan is to table a number of important items during the one-day meeting, which will culminate in the Declaration of the Special ASEAN Summit on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), the Thai newspaper said.
One of six measures in the declaration is the establishment of the ARF to arm medical personnel with weapons in their ongoing battle against the coronavirus, as well as pave the way for a new "force" to eradicate the disease in the long term.
Thailand had earlier proposed setting up a fund to finance the purchase of medicine and medical equipment, as well as research for a COVID-19 vaccine at a recent meeting joined by foreign ministers. The idea was given the greenlight, pending final approval from the 10-nation bloc on April 14.
Financing issues will be further discussed between ASEAN and its three partners - China, Japan and the Republic of Korea in the afternoon. VNA