Stronger Asean+3 ties needed to develop Covid-19 vaccine, says Azmin

Senior Minister Azmin Ali urges Asean to consider en bloc measures to procure the vaccine.

KUALA LUMPUR: Senior Minister-cum-International Trade and Industry Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali has urged China, Japan and South Korea to forge greater partnership with Asean member states in developing the Covid-19 vaccine.

He said South Korea and China, being advanced on vaccine trials, should also consider allowing Asean member states to produce the vaccine to drive costs down and ensure mass availability and accelerate Asean as a region for biotech innovation.

The minister also urged Asean to consider en bloc measures to procure the vaccine in order to increase the chances of vaccine availability for the region.

“By pulling our resources together, we would have the capacity and capability to find a long and lasting solution (to beat Covid-19),” he said in a statement today.

Azmin said creating synergy and unity is the key to success in the battle.

He said Malaysia adopted a targeted approach in testing Covid-19 cases by zooming in on clusters of infections, as well as identifying localities with high rates of infections, and tracing as well as testing their close contacts and immediate surroundings.

The Asean Plus Three Economic Ministers (AEM+3), comprising China, Japan and South Korea, must expand the scope of cooperation with solidarity, vision and leadership, he added.

The minister said the support from the private sector is crucial in spurring the initiatives taken by governments to address the adverse impact of the pandemic, not only to the business community but also to the livelihoods of the people in the region.

“The strategic collaboration between governments and the private sector is indeed a manifestation of the Asean theme this year, which is to act in a ‘cohesive and responsive’ manner in dealing with the challenges,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said Malaysia is in the process of developing a quantitative antigen test kit to detect the level of antibodies of an individual towards the virus causing the Covid-19 infection.

Earlier, Azmin attended a Special AEM+3 virtual conference meeting on the response to Covid-19, hosted by Vietnam.

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