Guided by the ASEAN Post-2015 Health Development Agenda (APHDA) and its Governance and Implementation Mechanism (GIM), the ASEAN Health Sector Cooperation deployed and operationalized the established and existing health mechanisms for technical exchanges, information sharing, and updates on policy-related measures in responding to COVID-19.

Employing an all hazards approach through the whole-of-health-system and whole-of-government approach, the ASEAN Health Sector addressed the COVID-19 threat in the whole spectrum of preparedness, detection, mitigation, and response measures through the various health platforms. All ASEAN Member States through the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Health Development (SOMHD) and SOMHD Plus Three reaffirmed their commitment to further enhance coordination and cooperation to control the spread of the COVID-19.

Special Video-Conference of ASEAN Plus Three SOMHD on COVID-19

On February 3rd, 2020, the ASEAN Plus Three SOMHD attended by all ASEAN Member States and Plus Three Countries, also World Health Organization (WHO) representatives gathered together through Video Conference platform to share the current situation in all Countries, sharing of technical expertise and lessons in detection of COVID-19, and preparedness measures undertaken by all Countries.

WHO declared the COVID-19 as the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 30 January 2020, among others, to further strengthen Country’s health system and to establish international coordination and cooperation to mitigate the international dissemination of the COVID-19.

The ASEAN Plus Three SOMHD give credence to the existing mechanism in the ASEAN Health sector and its engagement with other regional and global platform.

  1. ASEAN Plus Three Senior Officials Meeting for Health Development (APT SOMHD) currently chaired by Cambodia
  2. ASEAN Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) Network led by Malaysia
  3. ASEAN Plus Three Field Epidemiology Training Network (ASEAN+3 FETN) currently chaired by Malaysia and coordinated by Thailand;
  4. ASEAN BioDiaspora Virtual Centre for big data analytics and visualization (ABVC) led by Philippines;
  5. ASEAN Risk Assessment and Risk Communication Centre (ARARC) led by Malaysia;
  6. Public health laboratories network under the purview of ASEAN Health Cluster 2 on Responding to All Hazards and Emerging Threats; and,
  7. Regional Public Health Laboratories Network (RPHL) led by Thailand through the Global Health Security Agenda platform

The ASEAN Plus Three SOMHD Special Video Conference was concluded with reaffirmation of the commitment reiterated in the 8th ASEAN Plus Three Health Ministers Meeting, to continue our efforts on the implementation of International Health Regulation (IHR), Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases and Public Health Emergencies (APSED III) to enhance AMS and Plus Three countries’ capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats. In sustaining the progress made, there is further need to strengthen: (1) combating antimicrobial resistance, food safety and zoonotic disease control, (2) inter-sectoral communications and information-sharing including the regular sharing of outbreak investigation reports between human and other relevant sectors, and (3) existing inter-sectoral mechanism, which includes Development Partners, to oversee IHR core capacity development within AMS and Plus Three countries.

ASEAN Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) Network

The ASEAN PHEOC Network led by Ministry of Health Malaysia, provided a platform among ASEAN Member States officials working at the respective Crisis Centre and/or disease prevention and control, to share information in timely manner through various mechanism of communication.

Rapid and daily communication among the members such as sharing of information on the new confirmed cases and any measures taken at the national level is currently done through the WhatsApp mobile application. Daily and regular email communication is also being done to share updates given by ASEAN Member States and Plus Three Countries through the Health Division, ASEAN Secretariat on any new confirmed cases and press release issued by the Member States.

The ASEAN EOC Network produced a compilation of National/local Hotline/Call Centre in ASEAN Member States for COVID-19 which was shared to public through the Social-media platform of ASEAN. Also, ASEAN Member States dedicated a web-page to share any updates on the COVID-19 in their respective Ministry of Health webpage.

ASEAN BioDiaspora Virtual Centre (ABVC) for Big Data Analytics and Vizualisation

The ASEAN BioDiaspora program is a real-time web-based risk assessment tools, linking multiple datasets including air travel data, demography data of ASEAN Member States, human population density, animal populations, industrialization and utility distribution, vector locations, and other relevant datasets. The ASEAN BioDiaspora comprised of two different tools namely 1) The Explorer Tool and 2) The Insights Tool.

The Explorer Tool empowers public health with big data and advanced analytics to track and assess infectious disease threats anywhere in the world. The tool literally illustrates how disease may move around the world. Further, it demonstrates where the disease event is, the suitability of a local transmission, the factors driving disease spread, how connected the outbreak locations are with the rest of the world and what could happen if a case is imported. This web application allows users to interact with the information in a variety of ways.

The Insights Tool empowers healthcare organizations with contextualized insights about global infectious disease threats to manage risk. In addition to the Explorer information generated, Insights demonstrates which disease events are relevant to national and regional locations, the risk of disease exportation or importation, possible spread to the selected location, and disease information.

The ABVC in timely manner produced series of Risk Assessment (RA) Report for International Dissemination of COVID-19. The RA provided highlights and situational overview of the COVID-19, timeline of international dissemination, public health outlook and the risk of importation through air travel from the ground zero Wuhan as well as China to ASEAN Member States.

The RA was able provided public health officials with air-travel data volume in order to take the necessary measures for the potential dissemination of disease through the air-travel. It also provided information on cases and fatality cases related to COVID-19 and travel advisories among ASEAN Member States in response to COVID-19.

Link to the Risk Assessment Report:

#1: 20 January 2020

#2: 27 January 2020

#3: 31 January 2020

#4: 4 February 2020

#5: 7 February 2020

#6: 11 February 2020

#7: 14 February 2020

#8: 17 February 2020

#9: 19 February 2020

#10: 21 February 2020

#11: 24 February 2020

#11: 24 February 2020

#12: 26 February 2020