COVID-19 in the Asia Pacific Region

The management of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Asia Pacific Region: good practices and lessons learned

Kuala Lumpur, June 18th: Eight Members of Parliament and Ministers from Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam meet online to discuss the management of the COVID- 19 pandemic and identify together best practices in the region.

The meeting, held under Chatham House Rules and organized jointly by UNITE Global Parliamentarians Network to End Infectious Diseases, Harm Reduction International and the Asia Centre, proposed a comprehensive overview of the pandemic picture in the region, presented by a panel of experts from the World Health Organization, Drexel School of Public Health, International Aids Society and the Asia Centre and moderated by Ajeng Larasati, Human Rights Lead at Harm Reduction International.

The Asia-Pacific region has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with extreme discrepancies registered between neighbouring countries. On the one hand, cases continue to mount in hot spots like India (29,762,793 cases), Indonesia (1,963,266 cases), the Philippines (1,346,276 cases) and Bangladesh (841,087 cases). On the other hand, there seems to exist relatively spared countries, such as New Zealand (2,714) and Taiwan (13,771 cases). What are the reasons for these inequalities? Is there any common pattern we can identify in the management of the pandemic?

The high proportion of asymptomatic cases and the transmissibility in the pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic periods have challenged the control of COVID-19. In such a context, governments have had no choice but to adopt protective measures such as imposing social distancing, wearing face masks, and handwashing, but also more restrictive ones, including lockdowns and curfews, often through the use of executive emergency powers. These temporary exceptions, made in most political regimes, have been in place for over a year, thus it is now essential to cautiously assess their effectiveness to protect public health, their overall impacts, and their renewed necessity.

The session aimed at giving a regional and effective platform for Parliamentarians and Ministers to exchange views and reflect on the COVID-19 response nationally and regionally, building a bridge between civil society, academia and policymakers, and enabling an evidence-based debate on best practices and efficient public

Press Contacts:

UNITE Global Parliamentarians Network to End Infectious Diseases

Ankita Nautamlal, Communications Officer:

Harm Reduction International

Suchitra Rajagopalan, Communications Officer:


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