ASEAN, US enhance cooperation in COVID-19 fight hinh anh 1Head of the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Vietnam, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– A teleconference of senior officials of ASEAN and the US was held on April 1 to promote coordination between the two sides in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and public health challenges.

The event was co-chaired by Head of the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Vietnam, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung who is also Chairman of the ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group (ACCWG),  and US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell.

Participants shared updated information on the developments of COVID-19, and measures to control and constrain the pandemic, while confirming their commitment to further strengthening cooperation in fighting the disease.

They agreed to actively share information and experience, provide technical assistance for one another, and exchange scientific research on ways to control and prevent infection and treat COVID-19 cases; and maintain close coordination among their relevant agencies in the work at all levels in the coming time.

ASEAN member nations applauded the US for its support to them in the fight, including the US’s assistance worth 19 million USD and its plan to support ASEAN in establishing a regional disease control centre.

The ASEAN side also asked the US to coordinate in training medical staff, and giving more scholarships to ASEAN students to pursue public health studies major in the US.

The two sides agreed to maintain measures to ensure the safety for citizens of each side that have been affected by the epidemic.
Stilwell spoke highly of ASEAN's efforts and achievements in dealing with the disease.

He thanked the ASEAN countries for creating favourable conditions for US citizens to return from the epidemic areas, affirming that the US will provide support for citizens of ASEAN member countries living, studying and working in the US.

The two sides affirmed that they will actively coordinate to intensify measures in order to minimise socio-economic impact caused by the pandemic, maintain open markets, stabilise the exchange of trade, services and investment, and ensure the supply of essential goods, especially medical supplies.
Deputy FM Dung emphasised that ASEAN's proactive and timely response efforts have brought about initial results in the fight. 

He also updated participants on Vietnam’s policies to effectively combat the disease, adding that with its drastic measures, Vietnam is well controlling the pandemic.

The official also proposed cooperation orientations between ASEAN and the US in controlling and preventing the spread of the disease, as well as in coping with negative socio-economic impact, affirming that Vietnam will actively promote the coordination of ASEAN’s efforts for this work./.