Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Chairman of ASEAN 2020, delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Special Summit on COVID-19 Response in Hanoi on April 14 morning.
The video conference holds a special significance in the context that the pandemic is spreading throughout the region and the globe, he said.
The leader added that all ASEAN member countries are struggling to prevent it from negatively affecting the lives of the people and the socio-economic development, especially the service sector which accounts for 30 percent of the bloc's GDP. However, in this difficult time, the ASEAN Community is demonstrating its solidarity and mutual assistance, standing shoulder to shoulder to overcome hardships, manifested in the ASEAN Chairman's Statement on collective response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the PM said.
ASEAN member states are strengthening their cooperation on health, defence, economy and tourism, while sharing and providing essential supplies, medical equipment, and supporting citizens during the pandemic, he noted.
The association's endevours have brought about encouraging results with disease control, and the number of infection cases among the 650-million population is estimated at only about 15,000, which is much lower than the global rate. Those initial results help ASEAN countries to be more self-confident, PM Phuc said, adding that they, however, should not be subjective. He also called on the 10 member states to promote solidarity and determination with the spirit of "cohesive and responsive" to win the fight against the pandemic.
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