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ASEAN holds two summits on response to COVID-19 pandemic

ASEAN holds two summits on response to COVID-19 pandemic

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit kicked off a special summit on COVID-19 response via video-conference on Tuesday.

In his capacity as ASEAN Chair 2020, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chaired the virtual summit, which was attended by the heads of state or government of the ten members – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and the ASEAN Secretary-General.

The leaders are expected to focus their discussions on containing and preventing the spread of COVID-19, supporting people in the countries hit by the disease, and minimizing socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.

They are also expected to adopt a joint statement on COVID-19 response reaffirming their determination to eliminate the pandemic which threatens people and destabilizes nations.

On Tuesday afternoon, another summit with ASEAN Plus Three – China, Japan and South Korea will be held, looking at measures to respond to and repel the global pandemic. This will be attended virtually by the 10 ASEAN members, China, Japan and South Korea, the ASEAN secretary-general and the World Health Organization director-general.

The two summits assume significance as all these countries are in proximity to China, from where the coronavirus first spread across the world from the wet markets of Wuhan. China holds more knowledge than any other country regarding the virus as well as the steps to mitigate and prevent it.

Globally the virus has infected over 19,20,918 people, causing 1,19,686 deaths while 4,53,289 people have recovered. It has crippled the global economy and cast a shroud of fear over the world. (With agency inputs).