Singapore PM lauds Vietnam’s Covid-19 success

By Minh Nga   May 29, 2020 | 09:53 pm PT
Singapore PM lauds Vietnam’s Covid-19 success
Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong (L) and Vietnam PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, June 2019. Photo courtesy of Singapore's Ministry of Communications and Information.
Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong has praised Vietnam’s success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic, and thanked the nation for lending a helping hand.

"I congratulated Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Vietnam’s decisive handling of the Covid-19 pandemic when we spoke this afternoon. I thanked him too, for Vietnam’s generous donations of face masks and test kits to Singapore," Lee wrote in a Facebook post Friday.

He said he and PM Phuc had agreed that amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, Singapore and Vietnam must continue to strengthen cooperation, and keep markets open and supply chains connected.

"Happy that we are deepening our collaboration in agri-trade for the supply of rice and other food products. We will also explore reopening borders for essential travel safely and gradually, when the time is right," he said.

A statement from Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday said the two PMs had agreed during their conversation that Singapore will be a long-term, stable importer of Vietnamese rice.

In his post, Lee said Singapore will continue to support Vietnam’s chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a position Vietnam has taken since November last year, and that he looks forward to deepening the two nations' "excellent ties."

Singapore is now the Southeast Asian nation hit hardest by Covid-19, with over 33,800 infection cases by Saturday. 23 people there have died of the disease.

Singapore had been praised in March as a shining example of how to handle the new virus. The World Health Organization pointed out that Singapore's aggressive contact tracing had allowed it to quickly identify and isolate new cases. However, less than one month later, Singapore suffered a wave of infection, and the vast majority of new cases were detected in the overcrowded dormitories that house more than 300,000 of Singapore's roughly one million immigrant workers.

Vietnam has confirmed 328 cases since its first case was detected in January, including 49 active cases.

As of Saturday morning, Vietnam had gone 44 straight days without community transmission of the novel coronavirus.

Of its total cases, 188 have been imported.

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