HÀ NỘI Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on Tuesday discussed regional collaboration to fight coronavirus with his Indonesia counterpart Joko Widodo over the phone and asked Vietnamese ministries to minimise the impact of the virus on the economy.
In a phone call with Indonesian Prime Minister Joko Widodo to discuss collaboration among ASEAN countries to fight the acute respiratory illness caused by the virus, PM Phúc applauded Indonesia’s prompt implementation of preventive measures as no case of coronavirus infection has been found in the country.
The Indonesian President praised Việt Nam’s “timely and comprehensive” efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, and expressed his belief in the country’s ability to stop the epidemic.
The two leaders agreed that the ASEAN member countries should be proactive in coordinating their virus prevention schemes in accordance with the bloc’s theme this year – ‘Cohesive and Responsive’ – as well as finding common solutions and delegating responsibilities in dealing with the virus.
As Chairman of ASEAN Coordinating Council this year, Việt Nam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh has sent letters to ASEAN member countries, calling for collaboration and the willingness to take common actions against the virus, according to PM Phúc.
Việt Nam has proposed the formation of a Joint Ministerial Working Group on fighting the virus, with the participation of consulates and concerned agencies in transport, immigration and border control in these countries. An online conference will be conducted soon to share experience and coordinate actions within the bloc.
The Indonesian PM expressed his approval of the proposal and said he highly valued the initiatives taken by Việt Nam.
The two PMs also agreed that collaboration must be strengthened, not only within ASEAN but also between ASEAN and China, with a focus on consular assistance to ASEAN citizens affected by the virus and those stuck in affected areas.
Speaking at a working session with the national steering committee on preventing and combating coronavirus in Hà Nội on the same day, PM Phúc urged ministries and localities to promptly implement measures to minimise the impact of the virus on the economy.
“While industry-trade and agriculture sectors have resumed operation after Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday, some activities such as stock transactions, tourism and exports have been reduced due to the threat posed by the virus,” he said.
“Given the complicated development of the disease, stricter precautions must be taken to prevent outbreaks.”
He told ministries and localities not to be pessimistic to avoid causing panic among the public.
The government leader required all sectors and localities to continue dealing with the disease and accept the sacrifice of some economic interests to protect people’s health.
At the same time, the Government leader requested prompt measures for restructuring production and ensuring growth.
He tasked the Ministry of Health to build scenarios to cope with the disease without causing excess anxiety among the public, while the Ministry of Science and Technology focus on studying the production of drugs and vaccines against the virus.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism must be stricter in managing festivals, he said.
The Finance Ministry was told to prepare sufficient funding for epidemic prevention and control.
PM Phúc also recommended limiting meetings and conferences with large numbers of participants to reduce risks of the virus spreading.
Coronavirus has spread to many cities in China and 26 other countries and territories after it was first detected in China’s Wuhan city in December 2019, according to the Ministry of Health.
As of 3:30pm yesterday, the world recorded 20,631 infection cases and 427 deaths, including 425 fatalities in mainland China, one in the Philippines, and one in Hong Kong (China).
Việt Nam has so far confirmed 10 infection cases. VNS