Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi during a press teleconference in Jakarta on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of the Foreign Affairs Ministry)

Foreign Minister Attracts Asean, Global Support for Indonesia's Covid-19 Mitigation Efforts

BY :NUR YASMIN

APRIL 10, 2020

Jakarta. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said on Thursday that Indonesia has attracted international support for its Covid-19 mitigation efforts and is now calling on Asean member countries to pool in medical equipment and give them to those who need them the most. 

"We're in close communication with other countries, international organizations and other foreign partners to try to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic together," Retno said.

Indonesia has already received support from 58 international partners – including China, Japan, the United States, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates, private companies and also international organizations.

The latter include the World Health Organization, Asian Development Bank, International Atomic Energy Agency, United Nations Development Programme, International Organization for Migration, Global Fund and the United Nations Children's Fund.

The other partners are NGOs and private companies from Singapore, South Korea, China, Vietnam, France, Russia, Germany, Japan and Sweden.

"From them, we've received rapid testing kits and personal protective equipment including surgical masks," Retno said.

Retno said she had talked to the foreign ministers of Turkey, South Africa, Singapore, Morocco, France, Canada, Australia, Germany, Brazil, Peru and the United Kingdom during an International Coordination Group teleconference on April 7.

"We discussed evacuation procedures from Covid-19 red zones, the supply chain and the need for more medical equipment. I stressed during the meeting that we need to keep trade and flow of goods going to protect the global supply chain," Retno said.

She said almost all of the countries have issued measures to limit people's mobility to suppress the spread of coronavirus.

"Everyone is busy trying to stop the virus from spreading inside their own country. But the cooperative spirit is still very high, I'm very happy about that," Retno said.

A WHO report released on Friday showed close to 1.4 million Covid-19 cases in 213 countries and territories with more than 85,700 deaths. 

Asean Cooperation Against Covid-19

Retno said Indonesia has been vocal in its attempt to get Asean member countries to join in a collective action to fight the pandemic.

Foreign ministers of Asean member countries and those from China, South Korea and Japan held a teleconference on Thursday to discuss the regional body's response to the pandemic.

Retno said all member countries of Asean must conduct their Covid-19 mitigation efforts according to the resolutions reached during an Asean health ministers' meeting – chaired by Indonesian Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto – on April 7.

The health ministers had agreed to fight misinformation and fake news, share information and research and use technology to manage cross-border health responses.

"The most important thing is to follow the protocols for cross-border public health responses, including for contact tracing and investigation of new cases. We also have to make sure the flow of goods, especially staple food and other basic supplies, including medical kits, is not interrupted during the pandemic," Retno said.

"I said we must protect everyone in Asean member countries, but especially migrants and workers in the informal sector," she said. 

Retno added Asean also needs a new protocol to control the movement of people in the region.  

Asean leaders will again meet each other online on April 14 during the Asean 2020 Summit, along with government leaders from China, South Korea and Japan.

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