Indonesian, Malaysian discuss cooperation against COVID-19 hinh anh 1Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi (right) speaks in a video conference with Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (left, on TV screen). (Twitter/@Menlu_RI)

Jakarta (VNA) –
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi engaged with her Malaysian counterpart Hishammuddin Hussein through a video conference on March 20, discussing the need for the two neighboring countries to maintain close collaboration amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“We agreed on the importance of strong cooperation between the two countries, both bilaterally and within the framework of ASEAN, in addressing COVID 19,” Retno wrote in her Twitter account.

Hishammuddin wrote in a Facebook post that the majority of their video conference focused on COVID-19, and both sides shared experience in handling stranded citizens abroad due to travel restrictions imposed by countries in which they were.

In addition, the two ministers looked into the Malaysians and Indonesians who participated in tabligh (Islamic mass gathering) and how they could manage the outbreak of COVID-19 transmissions from these events.

Malaysia has experienced a spike in coronavirus infections following a tabligh event attended by more than 16,000 participants from countries in Southeast Asia, prompting local authorities to impose a partial lockdown in view of the significant surge of cases.

As of 13:00 on March 21, the country had reported a total of 1,030 confirmed COVID-19 cases - the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, Indonesia has the highest death toll from the novel coronavirus among its ASEAN peers, with 32 fatalities to date out of 369 cases./.