The group was set up upon a proposal by Vietnam, the ASEAN Chair 2020, with a view to promoting cooperation in the ASEAN Community to cope with the complicated developments of the COVID-19.

Participants shared information about the situation in ASEAN member states as well as the implementation of measures in each country since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Vietnam

They agreed to recommend the ASEAN Coordinating Council at the foreign ministerial level adopt specific actions to mobilize the overall strength of the ASEAN Community to curbing the spread of the pandemic and mitigating its impact on the socio-economic life of the member countries.

ASEAN countries agreed to step up information and experience exchanges in the bloc and increase cooperation with partners in preventing infections and providing treatment for COVID-19 cases.

They also pledged to work together to ensure safety for medical workers who are on the front line in the battle, while maintaining the supply of essential goods for the people and preventing fake news.

ASEAN will also intensify coordination to implement policies and measures assisting businesses, especially micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and vulnerable groups in the society.

Member states pledged to maintain the opening of market, facilitate goods and trade exchanges, and ensure social welfare for the people.

A teleconference of the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting on preventing and combating COVID-19 is scheduled for early April this year.

Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups 10 member countries, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Source: VNA