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Vietnamese, Indonesian leaders talk about nCoV prevention

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Indonesian President Joko Widodo emphasised the need to boost cooperation among countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to cope with the acute respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus (nCoV) during their telephone talks on February 4.

President Widodo highly evaluated the Vietnamese Government’s move to take prompt and comprehensive measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

He expressed his belief that under the close direction of PM Phuc and with the capability of the health sector, Vietnam is completely able to prevent the outbreak.

PM Phuc also hailed Indonesia as one of the countries to rapidly implement measures to prevent the disease, with no infection cases being reported so far.

The two leaders agreed that ASEAN member states should proactively coordinate in line with the spirit of the 2020 ASEAN theme “Cohesive and Responsive” to seek common solutions and share responsibility to cope with the disease as they did in the prevention of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003.

According to PM Phuc, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh as Chairman of the ASEAN Coordinating Council has sent letters to ASEAN countries to express the spirit of coordination and joint action of the bloc to prevent and control the disease.

He added that Vietnam had proposed ASEAN establish a ministerial-level joint working group with the participation of transport, immigration, border control and consular agencies to soon organise online meetings to timely share information and coordinate actions of the ASEAN member countries, showing the intra-bloc solidarity.

President Widodo agreed with and spoke highly of PM Phuc’s proposals.

The two leaders also agreed to enhance coordination not only within the grouping but also between ASEAN and China, including consular assistance for citizens of the ASEAN countries affected by the disease, especially those who are still stuck in the epidemic area.

ASEAN groups 10 countries, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.