Health professionals send a message calling for combined efforts in the COVID-19 fight
With the upcoming 36th ASEAN Summit set to take place on June 26, it will mark the first official summit during the ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2020 of Vietnam.
Coming within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic being widespread, the nation in its role as the Chair of ASEAN 2020 has decided to take timely steps in an effort to shift the focus of the agenda to epidemic prevention and control methods by putting forward practical suggestions and initiatives
The early months of the year saw ASEAN face its biggest challenge since its inception in 1967 with many regional nations throughout Southeast Asia closing borders and imposing travel restrictions. Despite this adversity, ASEAN co-operation was never suspended.
In its role as the Chair of ASEAN 2020 the country joined with other ASEAN member states in carrying out the dual task of focusing on preventing the spread of the pandemic and continuing community building while simultaneously carrying out key priorities for co-operation.
With regard to the Vietnamese role as ASEAN Chair in promoting joint efforts to combat the epidemic, ASEAN Secretary General Lim Joc Hoi affirmed that the nation has displayed a "strong leadership" in terms of a regional collective response to the global pandemic.
The theme of building "a cohesive and active responsive ASEAN" during Vietnam's ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2020 is suitable with the situation that the region is currently experiencing.
The regional bloc was united and quickly responded to the pandemic in February, holding two special high-level conferences held on April 14. The strong response by ASEAN is largely due to Vietnamese leadership, especially in terms of promoting dialogue and co-operation among various members.
Whilst performing well in its role as the ASEAN Chair in 2020 in helping the region deal with the COVID-19, country has also emerged as a success story in the fight against the pandemic.
| A patient suspected of infecting with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is receiving treatment at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi
As a country that possesses fewer resources than many others, Vietnam has devised an effective anti-epidemic strategy. Phrases such as "a bright spot of epidemic prevention", "extraordinary results", "first anti-epidemic flag", and "Vietnamese miracle" are compliments that the international media have decided to attach to the nation's tremendous achievements in the COVID-19 fight.
The country’s example can therefore be considered an anti-epidemic model worth following, from the drastic timely response by the Government to the high sense of responsibility taken on by the people.
Takeshi Kasai, the World Health Organization Regional Director for the Western Pacific, noted that Vietnam had worked out a suitable plan and properly implemented it as anticipated in each stage of epidemic prevention.
Kasai also attributed the country's success in epidemic prevention methods to the consensus of the Vietnamese people who strictly adhered to the direction of the Government with high confidence and responsibility.
Through successful epidemic control methods, the nation is also responsible for assisting many nations around the world combat the pandemic through efforts such as donating medical masks and their sharing experience with those in need.
Gaining experience and learning lessons learned from the fight against the COVID-19 has led to the country being acknowledged and appreciated by many other regional members during the 36th ASEAN Summit Week.
At a series of meetings hosted by Vietnam, a number of initiatives and proposals were put forward by other nations in an effort to promote regional co-operation in combating the epidemic and coping with other health threats that may emerge in the future.
The group also affirmed their support for accelerating the implementation of Vietnamese proposals to deal with the pandemic, and expressed their confidence in the success of the 36th ASEAN Summit under the chair of Vietnam.
Despite beginning the ASEAN Chair Year that has faced numerous difficulties caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, the nation has been demonstrating its leadership capacity through a swift and active response in co-ordinating joint activities between member countries and ASEAN partners.
As a keen and responsible nation since joining the regional group, the country has continued to affirm its crucial role by showing a united ASEAN with a clear vision in response to global challenges.