ASEAN builds a reserve of medical supplies

In response to the unprecedented and severe challenges posed by the COVID-19 epidemic, Vietnam has been actively promoting a “Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN” through joint efforts that include establishing a regional reserve of medical supplies.
Setting up a regional reserve of medical supplies is part of ASEAN’s urgent efforts to fight the epidemic, along with establishing COVID-19 cooperation funds to mobilize resources and partners’ assistance. According to Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, at the Special ASEAN+3 Summit on COVID-19 (with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) in April, the leaders approved two joint statements. They were: declaring a strong commitment and determination in preventing and eliminating risks of COVID-19 that threatened people's well-being and a socio-economic stability of members.

Many ASEAN summits since early 2020 have been promoting the establishment of a reserve of essential medical supplies to meet urgent needs during an epidemic. Also mentioned is the setting up of a health expert network of ASEAN and its partners to exchange information and share experiences in disease treatment and control.

Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung hands over medical equipment from Vietnam
to Cambodia to fight the COVID-19 epidemic. Photo: Duong Giang / VNA

Ambassador of the Republic of Korea Mission to ASEAN Lim Sungnam presents medical equipment worth 5 million US dollars
to Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dato Lim Jock Hoi and the representative of Chairman of ASEAN 2020. Photo: VNA

Doing research for a vaccine against Sars-CoV-2 virus in Vietnam. Photo: VNP

Vietnam produces face masks to support ASEAN countries to fight COVID-19. Photo: VNA

Workers wear masks in a factory in Malang, East Java, Indonesia. Photo: Xinhua / VNA

Spraying disinfectant in Jakarta, Indonesia to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Photo: Xinhua / VNA

A team of scientists in Singapore has found five antibodies that can prevent the infection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Photo: VNA

People wear masks printed with smiling faces in Tangerang, Indonesia. Photo: AFP / VNA

A student wears a COVID-19 infection shield at a school in Bangkok. Photo: AFP / VNA

According to Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, ASEAN is the united organization for member countries to gather and pool their efforts to overcome this epidemic together. As the Chairman of ASEAN, Vietnam, together with member countries, has chosen the theme "Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN" for the year 2020. Its aim is to accelerate the building of the ASEAN community and promote ASEAN's role in an uncertain global environment. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Vietnam and ASEAN have shown the ability to respond quickly to the epidemic as well as the capacity to coordinate policies and actions among its members.

In February, ASEAN issued a Chairman’s Statement on ASEAN's joint response to COVID-19, followed by a series of important ministerial meetings on health, economy and defense. This is all done for the goal of ensuring a comprehensive cooperation in pandemic prevention and control. ASEAN also has organized many meetings with its partners including China, the European Union, the United States and international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) to exchange information and support each other in coping with the epidemic.

As highlighted by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, ASEAN and its partners should focus on priority measures in coping and handling COVID-19. These include mobilizing common resources, setting up a regional reserve of medical supplies, meeting urgent needs and making use of existing resources and support from multilateral bodies such as WHO and the United Nations.

Over the past seven months, Vietnam's actions as Chairman of ASEAN have demonstrated the spirit of cohesion and proactive response. Combining this spirit with the solidarity between ASEAN countries and the support from close partners, Vietnam strongly believes that ASEAN will overcome this storm of an epidemic, together with the region and the world.

Story: Le Linh  -  Photo: VNP & VNA