Three focus items to defeat COVID-19, spillover effects


ERADICATING COVID-19, restarting economies and reviving international cooperation – are three focus items required to contain, mitigate and defeat COVID-19 and the spillover effects the pandemic has caused, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein (picture).

Putting forth the focus items during the High-Level Video Conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation Thursday evening (June 18) themed ‘Combating COVID-19 With Solidarity’, Hishamuddin said Covid-19 did not discriminate and affect everyone in its path, regardless of borders, wealth or power.

In eradicating COVID-19, he said there were two items that the nations involved needed to prioritise – the medication needed to treat those who were infected and the vaccine required to ensure prevention of future infections.

“Over the past few months, we have engaged with our friends and partners around the world to share best practices and information to prevent, control and treat COVID-19, but in order to truly declare a victory against COVID-19, we need medication and vaccine that is available, accessible and equitable for all nations,” he said.

Hishammuddin said Malaysia strongly supported Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pledge during the 73rd World Health Assembly in Geneva that China would make its COVID-19 vaccine a “global public good”, once it is successfully developed.

Malaysia also supported the United Nations’ pledge for a large-scale, coordinated and comprehensive health response with an emphasis on solidarity towards developing countries, he said.

Malaysia also commended China’s success in combatting COVID-19 together with their kind and generous contributions that had helped Malaysia in the war against an invisible enemy, he said.

On reviving economies, Hishammuddin said a united response was required to restore global trade and flow of good and services in the post-pandemic era.

He said critical infrastructures for trade and trading routes via air, land and sea must be preserved and remain open as an important measure to gradually reestablish economic stability and security around the world.

At the Belt and Road conference, he pointed out that it would be beneficial to be advised on how previously announced initiatives under the Belt and Road would progress, especially if the pandemic had disrupted the plans to move forward.

“As we know, the global landscape has now changed, and business cannot be as usual. It is imperative we receive some guidance as to how future plans will be tailored or fine-tuned to best match our situation moving forward,” he said.

He said Malaysia felt it was important for China to work closely with all the Belt and Road nations to rethink and re-chart a clear path forward post-pandemic.

On renewing international cooperation, Hishammuddin said Malaysia believed the search for the vaccine and renewed economic cooperation would be the best starting point for the multilateral effort.

As one of the earliest members of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and taking into account the great potential of the BRI to promote global sustainable and inclusive growth, Malaysia believed that further enhancing collective economic growth and social development would be of benefit to all, he said.

“It is crucial for us to strengthen international cooperation to combat the pandemic in solidarity and through partnership,” he said.