Covid-19 impacts: Vietnam seeks opinions on postponing ASEAN summit

By Minh Nga   March 18, 2020 | 12:55 am PT
Covid-19 impacts: Vietnam seeks opinions on postponing ASEAN summit
A doctor at a Covid-19 quarantine area of Da Nang General Hospital in Da Nang, January 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong.
Vietnam is discussing with members and partners the advisability of delaying a high-level ASEAN meet and related events over the Covid-19 pandemic.

As the bloc's chair his year, Vietnam is consulting with members and partners to reach a decision on organizing the 36th ASEAN Summit and other related meetings scheduled for April, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said Tuesday.

The summit has to be held April 6-9 in Vietnam's Da Nang City, which is treating four Covid-19 patients.

Hang said the consultation was happening in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic "developing complicatedly inside the bloc and around the world," she said.

"We will make a specific announcement after the matter is decided by top leaders," she added.

ASEAN has ten members - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and eight partners - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the U.S.

The ASEAN Summit is a biannual meeting held to discuss economic, political, security and socio-cultural development of the bloc's members. It is a prominent regional and international conference, with world leaders attending its related summits and meetings to discuss various problems and global issues and strengthen cooperation in tackling them.

So far, Covid-19 infections have been recorded in six ASEAN member nations - Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Malaysia has issued a two-week national lockdown after infections in the country spiked to the highest in Southeast Asia at over 600, along with two deaths.

Vietnam has recorded 68 infections, 52 of whom have been detected since March 6, prior to which the nation had gone 22 days without a new case. The previous 16 patients have been discharged from hospitals.

The Covid-19 pandemic has spread to 167 countries and territories, claiming nearly 8,000 lives.

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