Hanoi, Vietnam | AFP | Tuesday 4/14/2020
Vietnam will urge Southeast Asian leaders to set up an emergency fund to tackle the coronavirus at a summit held online on Tuesday, as the pandemic ravages the region's tourism and export-reliant economies.
Hanoi is chairing an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting on COVID-19, with the country touting its success so far in containing the virus with extensive quarantines and social distancing.
Vietnam has 265 virus cases and no deaths, while Thailand has officially also kept its numbers relatively low at just over 2,500 cases with 40 deaths.
The situation is mixed elsewhere across the region, with fears that limited testing in Indonesia has played out into the low caseload -- and under 400 deaths -- for a country of 260 million.
Similarly, threadbare health systems from Myanmar to Laos are widely believed to be missing the true scale of infections, while a recent surge in cases in Singapore has raised fears the pandemic could rebound in places which had batted back the initial outbreak.
In opening remarks via videoconference, Vietnam's premier Nguyen Xuan Phuc hailed the work of ASEAN in fighting the virus so far.
But he warned COVID-19 "has badly impacted people's lives, their socio-economic situation... challenging stability and social security".
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