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ASEAN Summit postponed until end-June due to pandemic
Linh Pham 21:13, 2020/03/23
The postponement comes after eight out of 10 ASEAN members confirmed coronavirus cases.

The two-day 36th ASEAN Summit scheduled for April 8-9 in Vietnam will be postponed until the end of June on fears for the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has informed leaders of ASEAN countries and New Zealand of the postponement of the ASEAN Summit, the ASEAN-New Zealand Summit and other meetings which are expected to take place in Danang city.

 ASEAN-China foreign minister meeting on Covid-19 in February. Photo: AFP

In the letter, PM Phuc said Vietnam had basically completed organizational work for the events but the postponement was necessary due to the spreading pandemic in the region and all over the world, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The postponement comes after Vietnam had announced on March 17 that it would apply mandatory quarantine for all visitors from the United States, Europe, and ASEAN countries and suspend the issue of new visas for all foreign nationals.

 ASEAN visitors in Vietnam. Photo: Zing

So far, eight out of 10 ASEAN members have confirmed people infected with the novel coronavirus, including Malaysia with 1,518 cases, Thailand 721, Indonesia 579, the Philippines 462, Singapore 455, Vietnam 121, Brunei 91, and Cambodia 86.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that with resolve and joint efforts, solidarity and mutual compassion, the ASEAN community would stand firm in the face of challenges, ensure a peaceful life for its people and prosperous development of its member countries.

Vietnam has also asked ASEAN member states to continue to coordinate closely so as to mitigate the pandemic’s negative effects on the socio-economic situations in member countries.

Following the escalation of the pandemic over the past months, Vietnam, as the chair of ASEAN this year, has connected the regional countries to enhance ASEAN’s responsiveness to act promptly and effectively in the control of the pandemic.

At the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC) chaired by Vietnam in February, ASEAN ministers agreed to promote ASEAN’s cohesiveness through joint actions of mutual assistance, including sharing transparent information, experience and best practices, building capacity in the prevention, detection, research and treatment of COVID-19 and other emerging infectious diseases.

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