Thailand gives virus vaccine pledge to Acmecs members
Thailand will be ready to manufacture and distribute Covid-19 vaccine to members of the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (Acmecs) grouping by mid 2021, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said.
He made the announcement on Wednesday at Government House during the 9th Acmecs Summit held online on Wednesday with the leaders of the other four member countries -- Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam -- and Asean's secretary-general.
Hosted by Cambodia, the meeting focused on Covid-19's impacts on people's income in the subregion.
Gen Prayut told the meeting that Thailand would help strengthen Acmecs, particularly in regard to public health.
He told the leaders about Thailand's deal to reserve doses of Covid-19 vaccine from a British company and the country expected to receive a licence to manufacture it by mid-2021.
"Thailand would classify Covid-19 medicines and vaccine as public goods so that people in the Mekong region would have equal access to them at reasonable prices," he said.
Regarding post-pandemic recovery and development, Thailand would help promote the subregion as a safe area with economic opportunities and partnerships, the premier said.
Thailand promised to contribute US$200 million (6 billion baht) to a fund aimed at implementing projects that would boost the subregion's development. The money will also be spent on establishing an Acmecs secretariat, according to Gen Prayut.
Meanwhile, Thailand and neighbouring countries in the Mekong subregion have laid out measures to prevent and tackle haze and smoke problems in 2021.
Pollution Control Department director-general, Atthaphon Charoenchansa, yesterday said Thailand, Myanmar and Laos discussed preparations to combat the problem during a videoconference.
The other countries commended Thailand for its use of technology to manage air quality, give three-day forecasts on air quality, satellite monitoring and an application to aid fighting wildfires. Haze and smoke has become an annual problem in the subregion, peaking from January to April.