|Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi. — Photo courtesy of the ASEAN Secretariat|
JAKARTA — The ASEAN and ASEAN + 3 Special Summits on COVID-19 Response symbolise regional solidarity, said Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency on Monday.
He stressed that the summits also reflect the parties' leadership in forging regional responses to complement national and global measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the ASEAN leader, the pandemic has shown the virus knows no national boundaries. A collective response from the region will complement and strengthen national and local responses.
“The summits will also provide for enhanced political co-ordination and commitment in concretising collective efforts from all stakeholders/sectors, to support whole-of-government and whole-of-health system approach with a stronger regional response in mitigating the impact of this pandemic,” he said.
The pandemic cannot be addressed by a one-off response. It requires a comprehensive long-term plan, going beyond current containment efforts to also focus on mitigation and recovery, he added.
“ASEAN seeks to enhance our co-operative relationships with our ASEAN Plus Three counterparts, to find ways in which we may work together to articulate a common unified response to COVID-19,” said Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi.
“ASEAN welcomes a unified approach to tackling the far-reaching impact of COVID-19. We expect collective effort in partnership with our external partners and relevant institutions on post-pandemic recovery is needed, particularly in the most affected sectors,” he noted.
“At the strategic level, these summits demonstrate ASEAN’s commitment to the principle of open-regionalism in this difficult time, as we realise that we are stronger together, and by working together we can overcome this unprecedented challenge more effectively and efficiently”.
ASEAN also expects enhanced collaboration in information and knowledge sharing. Not only in the areas of medical development, but also domestic policies related to social and health security given the vast impact of COVID-19, he added. — VNS