ASEAN and Chinese foreign ministers to discuss COVID-19 in Vientiane

Medical officers spray Indonesian nationals with antiseptic after they arrived from Wuhan, China center of the coronavirus epidemic, before transferring them to the Natuna Islands military base to be quarantined, at Hang Nadim Airport in Batam, Riau Islands, Indonesia, February 2, 2020 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/via REUTERS

The current COVID-19 outbreak in China will be discussed at the 6th Lancang-Mekong Cooperation meeting in Vientiane, the capital of the Lao Republic, on February 20th, Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said today.

The LMC consists of six Mekong riparian countries namely, China, Cambodia, Laos Republic, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand.

Don said that the foreign ministers will discuss how the six countries can cooperate to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, said today that his ministry has obtained the passenger manifest of the MS Westerdam and they will be allowed to transit in Thailand for flights to their home countries, because Cambodian health officials have already screened the passengers for novel coronavirus infection.

The Holland-America MS Westerdam ship docked at Sihanoukville deep-sea port on Thursday and passengers are to disembark today to catch a chartered flight to Phnom Penh, from where they will begin their journeys home.

The Cambodian Health Ministry reported that officials have tested the blood samples of 20 passengers who were displaying symptoms, but the tests were negative for COVID-19.

The ship carries 1,455 passengers, including 21 Thai citizens, and 802 crew members.  It had been denied entry to the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, Guam and Thailand before it was permitted to dock at Sihanoukville by the Cambodian government on Thursday.

Mr. Anutin added that all the passengers on two cruise ships, Seabourn Ovation and Quantum of the Seas, which docked in Phuket yesterday, have been cleared of COVID-19 by Thai health officials, who conducted on-board screening before they were allowed to disembark.

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