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Jakarta Post

How will ASEAN leaders approach COVID-19?

  • Dian Septiari


Jakarta   /   Fri, June 26 2020   /  01:00 am
Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc addresses a special video conference with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Hanoi April 14, 2020. (REUTERS /Manan Vatsyayana/Pool )

With its member states at different stages in their COVID-19 responses, a coordinated regional response will likely be top-of-mind as the nations' leaders prepare to convene virtually for the 36th ASEAN Summit on Friday. Indonesia last week surpassed Singapore as the ASEAN nation with the highest cumulative total of confirmed cases, as its daily tally continues to hover around 1,000 new cases. Meanwhile, other ASEAN states like Vietnam, Brunei and Laos have all reported zero cases over the past few weeks. Grouping nations with diverse governing systems and cultures, ASEAN has been strongly criticized for being too slow in responding to the pandemic, even though some sectors began discussing regional cooperation very early on. How has ASEAN and individual states responded to COVID-19? ASEAN began discussing collaborative action immediately after th...