The long lockdowns during COVID have led some economies to crumble, while the overly relaxed approach and neglect of health issues have also caused avoidable losses in others.
Jakarta (ANTARA) – Health ministers of APEC members aim to strengthen global and national preparedness for future pandemics through international and regional collaboration and partnerships to improve public health and wealth in the Asia- Peaceful.
Gathered in Bangkok for APEC Health Week for their first physical meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, ministers began the two-day meeting with a high-level discussion on the balance between health and the economy, according to a statement released by the 12th APEC High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy on Friday.
“The lengthy lockdowns during COVID have led to the collapse of some economies, while the overly relaxed approach and negligence on health has also caused avoidable losses in others,” the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health of Thailand, Anutin Charnvirakul.
Minister Charnvirakul led an initial discussion among six panelists: Singapore Minister of Health Ong Ye Kung, Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services Andrea Palm, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi, and Indonesian Health Minister Budi G. Sadikin, who moderated.
Each panelist was asked to highlight the interconnection between health and wealth; expose the health challenges facing the Asia-Pacific region; and share their ideas, visions and direct experiences in the fight against the pandemic.
“The repercussions of the pandemic – its socio-economic impacts on a wide range of sectors, including economic growth – have necessitated a multi-sectoral, whole-of-society approach to pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. “said Minister Anutin.
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“We connect the dots between health and the economy, between governments and citizens, and between the public and private sectors,” he added.
APEC Executive Director Sta Maria noted during the conversation that the business community actually rushed to call for official action when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Their concerns centered on trade facilitation and the resumption of travel.
“In response to the call from the business world, officials have made a shift and a change,” she said.
Sta Maria said the resolution to the crisis took a “whole APEC approach”, considering that an effective response required the manufacture and distribution of vaccines and other goods in the region.
“Trade policy and trade facilitation is not only the responsibility of trade policymakers, but also of customs and other entities in order to move goods across borders,” Sta Maria stressed.
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“Customs’ work on Best Practice Guidelines for APEC Customs Administration has been crucial in facilitating the cross-border movement of essential goods and medical supplies,” she said.
Minister Anutin stressed the need to leverage technology and knowledge transfer and the exchange of pandemic response products to prepare Thailand and other economies for future pandemics.
“Vaccines and medical countermeasures must be distributed equally to everyone within and across economies. This confirms the fact that no one is safe until everyone is safe,” he remarked.
However, Anustin stressed that a single economy cannot achieve these goals alone.
“We need international collaboration, especially with everyone in this forum. By working together more closely, once we get to that level, we can deal with anything that can happen,” he said. -he declares.
APEC health ministers continue their discussions on Friday to reaffirm their commitments to balance health and the economy and to invest more in health systems and health security to better prepare the region for future pandemics.
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