Asean agree on mutual recognition of Covid-19 certificate

The ASEAN Health Ministers have agreed on the Mutual Recognition of COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates to ensure smooth and safe cross-border travel.

Deputy Health Minister II Datuk Aaron Ago Anak Dagang said the matter was agreed upon in a special discussion session of the 15th ASEAN Health Ministers’ Meeting (AHMM) held in Bali, Indonesia, yesterday.

“This recognition will be implemented using the ASEAN Universal Verification Mechanism or other mechanisms that have been developed based on the technical specifications of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“It aims to facilitate the verification of COVID-19 vaccination certificates issued by each ASEAN member country. Malaysia appreciates Indonesia’s efforts to take the initiative to lead the development of the ASEAN Universal Verification Mechanism,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Aaron said Malaysia was of the view that the voluntary system had a high potential to support ASEAN member countries that did not yet have a COVID-19 vaccination certificate verification system.

“It is important to have a smooth re-opening of borders and further accelerate the process of ASEAN’s recovery from COVID-19,” he added.

He said Malaysia was also ready to continue to work with ASEAN member countries in implementing the mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccine certificates to ensure the development of a healthier and safer ASEAN region, besides protecting the livelihood of the people.

Aaron led the Malaysian delegation to the 15th AHMM which took place from May 11 till today, and the meeting, among others, focused on strengthening the resilience of the ASEAN health system as well as the region’s recovery from COVID-19.

Apart from that, he said Malaysia would also lead the ‘Project for Strengthening Laboratory Capacity on COVID-19 Bio Genomic for ASEAN Countries’ under the ‘Strengthening Regional Initiatives in ASEAN on COVID-19 Response and other Public Health Initiatives’.

“This project will focus on technical aspects in the implementation of the whole genome sequencing of COVID-19, viral mutation detection, construction of the COVID-19 phylogenetic tree as well as genome analysis and activating the COVID-19 surveillance system. This initiative is expected to drive ASEAN in recovering from COVID-19,” he said.

Aaron added that for the first time, a special session of the ASEAN-US Health Ministerial Meeting was held at the 15th AHMM to discuss the way forward in terms of health cooperation, with the theme ‘Charting ASEAN-US Future Collaboration Towards Strengthening Health Systems for Public Health Emergencies’.

He said Malaysia would continue to be committed to working on the ASEAN and ASEAN Plus Three platforms with the Republic of Korea, Japan and China in efforts to strengthen the resilience of the COVID-19 post-pandemic health and rehabilitation system in the ASEAN region as well as being an ASEAN dialogue partner.

“Malaysia also fully supports the development and implementation of the ASEAN-Post 2015 Health Development Agenda (APHDA) as well as programmes and activities under the ASEAN Health Cluster,” he said. —BERNAMA