PM: Vietnam maintaining support for virus-hit nations hinh anh 1Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (C) addresses Special ASEAN Summit (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - 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.

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./.