Govt to sign Asean pact on Covid-19

Govt to sign Asean pact on Covid-19

The cabinet has agreed to endorse the Asean Special Meeting Declaration that underscores the region's strength of cooperation and capabilities to deliver health protection in a collective battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat said yesterday the government has resolved to endorse the draft declaration and the draft joint statement issued by Asean and its Plus three dialogue partners -- China, Japan and South Korea -- which earlier agreed in principle to set up a joint fund to combat the coronavirus pandemic following a virtual summit also attended by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Ms Narumon said the Foreign Affairs Ministry is authorised to amend non-essential aspects of the documents without prior cabinet permission.

The power to formally endorse the documents rests with either the prime minister or his representative, she said.

The declaration highlights the regional bloc's concern over the Covid-19 pandemic which has cast far-reaching repercussions on the lives of people and regional economies.

Asean has agreed to strengthen public health cooperation within member states through the accurate exchanges of information.

Also to be enhanced are measures adopted by member countries to research and develop vaccines and medicines to combat the virus while creating a safe environment for public health and medical care workers. The bloc also emphasised the urgent need to procure sufficient medicine and medical equipment, as well as personal protective equipment for frontline medical workers treating Covid-19 patients.

Ms Narumon said support will be given to the expanded role of the Asean Center of Military Medicine with various Asean-initiated cooperation funds to be re-allocated for handling public health emergencies caused by the virus.

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