Russia, Thais in joint virus fight pledge

Russia, Thais in joint virus fight pledge

Thailand and Russia will strengthen cooperation to tackle Covid-19 under the Asean umbrella.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai on Wednesday attended the Special Asean-Russia Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Covid-19 via videoconference. The meeting discussed Asean-Russia cooperation in tackling the spread of Covid-19, including mitigating its socio-economic impacts on people and businesses.

It stressed the importance of existing Asean-led mechanisms, such as the Asean Centre for Military Medicine, the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus, and the East Asia Summit, to enhance regional cooperation in responding to public health emergencies. The meeting also exchanged views on the post-Covid-19 regional architecture.

During the discussion, Mr Don stressed the need to share best practices between Asean and Russia on Covid-19 treatment and collaboration in the development of vaccines and anti-viral medicines, which, once available, should become "global public goods", accessible to all at an affordable price. Next Friday, the Asean leaders will hold a virtual 36th summit, chaired by Vietnam.

In another development, Thailand and Malaysia have agreed to further cooperation on helping Thai and Malaysian people affected by Covid-19. On Tuesday, Mr Don met his Malaysian counterpart Dato' Seri Hishammuddin bin Tun Hussein via videoconference.

The ministers updated each other on the Covid-19 situation in their respective countries and were pleased with the progress in flattening the curve of infected cases.

Both sides agreed close cooperation was crucial in ensuring continuity in the supply chain and cross-border trade. They also discussed the promotion of connectivity between the countries as well as cooperation within the Asean and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) frameworks, the Thai Foreign Ministry said.

Malaysia is the current chair of Apec. Incoming commercial passenger flights have been banned since April 4. As of Monday, 391 Thais have been repatriated from Malaysia via flights while 16,384 returned to the kingdom via the border.

Among them, four were found infected with Covid-19 but have since recovered, said the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

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