ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi highlighted the need to stay united and actively respond to the outbreak of the acute respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19), in line with the Vietnam ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2020’s theme “Cohesive and Responsive”, during a meeting with the media in Hanoi on February 19.
ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi meets the media (Photo: VNA)
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the 2020 ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Retreat in Hanoi the same day, which set orientations to cooperation during ASEAN Year 2020 and made preparations for ADMM and ADMM Plus later this year.
Lim lauded the ASEAN Chair’s Statement announced by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the joint statement by ASEAN defence ministers at the ADMM Retreat as evidence for regional solidarity and joint action against health-related issues, reflecting ASEAN’s support to ensuring healthy environment for citizens.
He expressed his delight that the joint statement, under the direction of Vietnam, was adopted after two days of discussions. Based on that, he hoped that action programmes will be built, especially in health care and medicine.
The armies play an important role in coping with COVID-19 outbreak, notably medical army centres, he said.
About ASEAN member states’ proposal to hold drills in response to the epidemic, Lim said ASEAN had experience in coping with the SARS epidemic in 2003, and suggested reviewing approaches to deal with COVID-19.
ASEAN’s ministries and agencies, including those in medical, defence, diplomatic and economic sectors, should work closely together to ensure citizens’ health and maintain the bloc’s prosperity, he said.