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ASEAN pledges to keep market open amid COVID-19 pandemic

Wednesday, April 01, 2020, 17:29 GMT+7
ASEAN pledges to keep market open amid COVID-19 pandemic
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Vietnam, chairs a video conference on March 31, 2020. Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Vietnam and other member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have pledged to maintain an open market to facilitate trade and investment as well as ensure social welfare amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic.

The first teleconference of the ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group on Public Health Emergencies was held on Tuesday and the chaired by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Vietnam.

The working group was established following a proposal by Vietnam, ASEAN Chair of 2020, aimed at promoting cooperation in the ASEAN community to cope with the complicated COVID-19 pandemic.

During the meeting, delegates discussed the ongoing COVID-19 situation in each ASEAN member state and how local authorities have been responding to the epidemic.

They agreed to step up the exchange of information and experience on anti-epidemic efforts and treatment of COVID-19 patients, ensuring safety for frontline health workers, maintaining supplies of essential goods, and battling fake news.

ASEAN will also intensify coordination in policies and measures aimed at assisting businesses, especially micro, small and medium enterprises, and vulnerable groups in society.

Member states pledged to maintain an open market, facilitate trade and investment, and ensure social welfare for the public.

They also agreed to convene a teleconference of the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting on preventing and combating COVID-19 in April.

ASEAN is a political and economic organization whose members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Over 9,500 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the region, with all members of the bloc reporting infections.

Countries with over 1,500 cases as of Wednesday afternoon are Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia.

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