Vientienne, MINA – Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi invites ASEAN member countries and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to collaborate to prevent and eradicate the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in the region.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has become a global challenge that knows no national borders, we have no other choice but to collaborate,” Retno said at the ASEAN-China Foreign Minister Special meeting in Vientienne, Laos on Thursday, February 20.
Until now, the virus originating from Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China has killed 2,128 patients and infected 75,727 people globally, including four Indonesian Citizens crews of the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship at Yokohama, Japan.
During the meeting, the Indonesian Foreign Minister specifically conveyed three important steps to enhance state collaboration in the Region.
First, close coordination between countries in the Region to prevent control and minimize the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is an important step.
“Exchange of information between ASEAN-China countries is very essential,” said Retno.
During the meeting, Indonesia proposed a hotline communication line between ASEAN and China to exchange the latest information.
Secondly, the ASEAN-China mechanism in dealing with endemic epidemic crises such as COVID-19 must be strengthened.
“The capability of the ASEAN-China mechanism in overcoming the 2003 SARS outbreak provides valuable lessons for ASEAN and China in facing this COVID-19 outbreak,” she explained.
Indonesia also proposed the establishment of the ASEAN-China Ad-Hoc Health Ministers Joint Task Force.
According to the Indonesian Foreign Minister, the Task Force could focus on cooperation to exchange information and data, especially the handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, a meeting of expert teams and to encourage joint research and production for virus and vaccine detection.
Third, strengthening communication strategies is a must.
“Public communication and education related to the COVID outbreak is very important to prevent panic and confusion among the people due to this outbreak,” stressed the Indonesian Foreign Minister.
Accurate public narratives and coordinated campaigns will provide good public confidence and sentiment to prevent stigmatization and minimize hoaxes that will only worsen the situation.
On this occasion, Retno also said that Indonesia was ready to share experiences in handling tropical epidemics and diseases.
“I would like to once again express my appreciation to the PRC government for its facilitation of the return of 237 Indonesians from Hubei Province and Wuhan City,” said the Indonesian Foreign Minister.
The repatriation of 237 Indonesians from Hubei Province and Wuhan City was carried out on February 1, 2020. (R/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)