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COVID-19 CONTAINMENT MEASURES, SUPPLY CHAINS, ECONOMIC COPING MEASURES TOP AGENDA OF ASEAN, ASEAN PLUS THREE SUMMITS––NOGRALES

Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases spokesperson Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Wednesday shared some of the highlights of the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 and the ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19, two activities the President joined via teleconference on Tuesday to discuss the region’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nograles said that the two summits “provided a venue for the leaders of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to share their experiences and best practices with regard to their respective responses to the COVID-19 outbreak, to discuss their major concerns as they all work to contain the outbreak, and to exchange their thoughts on the way forward after we deal with the pandemic.”

“Most emphasized the need to break the chain of infections in each country and to work together to reduce the risk of cross-border infections.”

“In both summits, though the leaders present spoke different languages, the substance and themes of their remarks were similar in many respects.”

The participants of the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 include the heads of state of all ASEAN member-countries, while the ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19 was participated in by members of the ASEAN together with China, Japan, and South Korea.

The Palace official revealed that like the Philippines, other nations in ASEAN have adopted social distancing measures that emphasize the restriction of movement in order to prevent transmission of the disease.

“Most emphasized the need to break the chain of infections in each country and to work together to reduce the risk of cross-border infections. There was universal agreement regarding the need to keep trade open, to keep supply chains moving, and to ensure the unhampered movement of goods,” said Nograles.

“All acknowledged the need to mitigate the economic impact of the outbreak, especially since the member-nations all generate revenues from tourism,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte signified the intention of the country to join clinical trials of the influenza drug Avigan (favipiravir) to treat COVID-19 cases.

Nograles, who joined the President during the summit teleconferences, said there was a consensus that ASEAN, China, Japan, and South Korea, must coordinate and share information with each other, must leverage digital technology to help combat the outbreak, and must prepare and build up their healthcare capabilities in order to be prepared for future outbreaks.

According to Nograles, aside from stressing the importance of ensuring food security in the region amidst the pandemic, President Rodrigo Duterte signified the intention of the country to participate in clinical trials of the influenza drug Avigan (favipiravir) to treat COVID-19 cases.

“Kung naalala nyo po nung Lunes nabanggit ni Pangulong Duterte ang Avigan, isang gamot na ginagamit para sa flu; isa ito sa mga pinag-usapan sa ASEAN Three Plus One Summit,” said the cabinet member.

“The President had an exchange with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe regarding this drug, and during the meeting reiterated that the Philippines is ready to participate in clinical trials of drugs like Avigan. According to Prime Minister Abe, there are 50 countries that are interested in studying this drug further.”

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