ASEAN to set up COVID-19 Response Fund

Don Pramudwinai gestures as he delivers a speech during the Inauguration of the new ASEAN Secretariat Building in Jakarta, Indonesia, Aug 8, 2019. REUTERS/File

BANGKOK: ASEAN Foreign Ministers have agreed to set up a COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund to fight the pandemic in the region.

In a statement today, the Thai Foreign Ministry said it was one of the outcomes reached during the 25th ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting via teleconferencing yesterday.

Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai and his ASEAN counterparts, including Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, participated in the teleconferencing.

It said the fund will be used to purchase medical equipment and support research on treatment and vaccines.

“All ASEAN Foreign Ministers agreed to join efforts to strengthen cooperation to combat COVID-19 in the region.

“They also discussed measures and guidelines to contain the deadly virus,” it said.

The ministers also agreed to provide the necessary assistance to ASEAN nationals living in the region and other countries.

“Besides that, the ministers also agreed to mitigate the socio-economic impact including (coming up with an) economic recovery plan to pave the way to return to normal life,” it said.

It said the ministers also discussed preparations for the special ASEAN +3 meeting on COVID-19 on April 14.