ASEAN-China medical experts tackle COVID-19 in video conference
MANILA, Philippines — Medical experts from countries in Southeast Asia and China have exchanged views on sustaining and further enhancing regional collective responses to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), experts from the health ministries of China and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met in a video conference on Tuesday, March 31.
“Different approaches and cooperative efforts in managing COVID-19 were discussed among the ASEAN Member States and China,” the DFA said in a statement Thursday.
During the videoconference, health experts shared information on scaled-up and intensified prevention, readiness, detection, and response measures against threats to public health.
They also conveyed information on the best practices for testing, contact tracing, quarantine, isolation, and social distancing measures.
The video conference also highlighted information on non- pharmaceutical measures such as travel restrictions, social distancing, and whole-of-society approaches to mitigate and contain the spread of the virus, DFA said.
“Further ahead, we look forward to strengthening preparedness for outbreaks caused by emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases by improving already existing mechanisms—be it through improving our response to pandemic hazards like zoonotic and food-borne diseases, the illicit trafficking of wildlife, and the steady decline of the region’s own rich biodiversity, or to leveraging the human resources pool for research and innovation,” Dr. Anjo Benedict Fabellon said in his intervention.
Fabellon is Medical Officer IV of the Department of Health Bureau of International Health Cooperation and Focal Point for ASEAN Health Ministers’ Meeting and the Senior Officials’ Meeting on Health Development (AHMM/SOMHD).
A report from Indonesia, which serves as chair of the AHMM/SOMHD, underscored capacity needs as well as gaps among ASEAN member states on material resources for case management and treatment, capacity building and technical assistance, and sustained information and experience sharing.
China, meanwhile, shared its experience in dealing with the pandemic.
DFA Assistant Secretary for ASEAN Affairs Junever Mahilum-West headed the Philippine delegation to the videoconference.
Worldwide, the disease, which originated from the Hubei province’s Wuhan City in China, has infected more than 1,015,850 people in more than 180 countries and territories with the global death toll standing at more than 53,215 although over 212,990 were able to recover as of April 3.
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