Hanoi (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, in his capacity as ASEAN 2020 Chair, has affirmed that Vietnam will continue working closely with ASEAN member states, partners, the World Health Organisation and the international community in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

During an ASEAN-EU ministerial teleconference on cooperation in coping with the epidemic on March 20, Minh informed participants about ASEAN’s active and timely response to the outbreak in the spirit of “Cohesive and Responsive” as the theme for the ASEAN Year 2020.

ASEAN has shown the highest determination to combat the epidemic by issuing the ASEAN Chair’s Statement, and statements of ministers in charge of national defence, economy and tourism on measures to jointly fight COVID-19.

Vietnam also chaired a meeting of the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Council to coordinate efforts of the bloc, he said, adding that active efforts of the ASEAN Community have brought about positive results with low rate of deaths compared to other regions in the world.

In the near future, ASEAN will continue stepping up specific actions and cooperating with partners in the regard, he said.

Minh suggested the EU offer technical assistance and partner in scientific research on the disease control and treatment, thus mitigating its socio-economic impacts.

ASEAN and EU agreed to enhance the sharing of information and experience, policy consultation, especially in diagnosis, treatment and vaccine production.

Vice-President of the European Commission and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrel proposed that ASEAN countries make it easier for EU citizens travelling in Southeast Asia to return home.

ASEAN member countries also wished that the EU would provide treatment for their infected citizens living and working in Europe./.