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Southeast Asian ministers endorse plans for pandemic fund

Posted on Friday, April 10th, 2020 By Jim Gomez, Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Southeast Asian foreign ministers have endorsed the setting up of a regional fund to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and discussed a planned video summit of their leaders with counterparts from China, Japan and South Korea.

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila said Friday that the top diplomats of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations linked up by video Thursday in a meeting led by Vietnam.

The ministers endorsed several collective steps to fight the pandemic, including the establishment of a COVID-19 ASEAN response fund, the sharing of information and strategies and ways to ease the impact of the global health crisis on people and the economy, the department said in a statement. It did not provide details.

They also discussed the planned meeting of their leaders with counterparts from China, Japan and South Korea in a video conference on April 14 to talk about the pandemic, three Southeast Asian diplomats told The Associated Press. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity due to a lack of authority to discuss the high-level meeting.

In Thursday’s discussion, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. stressed the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea amid the contagion, the department said.

The Philippines has expressed solidarity with Vietnam after a Vietnamese fishing boat was reportedly rammed and sank by a Chinese coast guard ship in disputed waters near the Paracel islands in the South China Sea.

Vietnam and the Philippines and two other ASEAN member states, Brunei and Malaysia, have been locked in longstanding territorial disputes with China and Taiwan in the strategic waterways, one of the world's busiest,


5 Travel Company Stocks Likely to Suffer From the Coronavirus

How important is the global travel and tourism industry? It’s a sector that accounts for about 10% of the world’s adult workforce. That’s 350 million people. The industry also accounts for at least 4% of the global gross domestic product (GDP).

In short, it’s an industry that accounts for trillions of dollars for the economy. And it relies on the most visible workers like pilots and cruise ship captains to the kitchen and housecleaning staff and servers. The travel industry is in many ways a service industry. But when there’s nobody to service, these businesses take a tumble.

And tumble it has. The world is going through a period of enforced social distancing. Many countries are taking even more extreme measures to lock down parts, or all, of their countries in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus and to flatten the curve to prevent healthcare workers and hospitals from being overwhelmed.

But that means fewer people are flying. Planned vacations are being canceled. And all of this is bad news for a sector that relies on the mobility of global travelers.

To be fair, the best of these companies should recover just fine. However, some of these companies had fundamental concerns that will be magnified by the loss of revenue.

View the "5 Travel Company Stocks Likely to Suffer From the Coronavirus".

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