1. We, the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN gathered in Bangkok, Thailand for the Special ASEAN Leaders Meeting on SARS on 29 April 2003;
2. Reaffirming our primary responsibility in ensuring the peaceful and progressive development of our respective countries and our region;
3. Resolving to maintain and strengthen the fundamental policies that have brought us many years of growth and prosperity and strongly reaffirming our commitment to keep our economies and borders open:;
4. Recognising that SARS poses a serious challenge not just to our region but globally and deeply concerned about its consequences to the well-being of the people and the economic development of this region;
5. Recognising that the number of victims of SARS world-wide has been on the increase and World Health Organisation’s assessment that SARS could become that first severe new disease of the 21st century with global epidemic potential;
6. Acknowledging with gratitude the important role of the WHO in a worldwide campaign to control and contain the spread of SARS;
7. Recognising the need for members to take individual (as well as collective) responsibility to implement stringent measures to control and contain the spread of SARS and the importance of transparency in implementing these measures;
8. Acknowledging that prevention, treatment, care and support for those infected by SARS are mutually reinforcing elements that must be integrated in a comprehensive approach to curb the spread of SARS;
9. Expressing appreciation at the initiative by Malaysia to organise the first ASEAN + 3 Health Ministers’ Special Meeting on SARS in Kuala Lumpur on 26 April 2003 and endorsing the decisions arrived at the Meeting (Annex A);
10. Recognising the value of exchanging experiences and information among ASEAN Member Countries which have been successful in controlling and rolling-back the spread of SARS, whereof Vietnam is a good example; and
11. Taking into account all the extensive measures taken by individual ASEAN countries in addressing this problem since the WHO’s Global SARS Alert on 12 March 2003, we resolve to undertake the following measures:
To establish an ad-hoc Ministerial-level Joint Task Force to follow-up, decide and monitor the implementation of the decisions made at this meeting and the ASEAN + 3 Health Ministers Special Meeting on SARS. In this regard, we task the respective Senior Officials to discuss and recommend operational details for consideration and approval by the Joint Task Force;
to intensify our efforts collectively to prevent the spread of SARS by strengthening our multi-sectoral collaboration involving relevant government agencies and mobilising our full and active participation of all sectors including the media, health community based organisations and private sectors in the planning and implementation of national responses to SARS; and the coordination of health and immigration procedures through the quick and full implementation of the measures listed in Annex B;
to cooperate in providing public information and education to promote public awareness and better understanding of the SARS epidemic as well as to prevent undue alarm on the part of the public;
to strengthen cooperation among our front line enforcement agencies such as health, immigration, customs, transport and law enforcement in preventing the spread of SARS;
· to establish and strengthen early warning system on emerging infectious diseases at both national and regional levels in cooperation with the WHO and other international health programmes;
to direct our Health and other relevant Ministers to promote, facilitate and enhance the exchange and sharing of information on how to deal with and counter the spread of SARS;
to establish an ASEAN SARS Containment Information Network to share information, best practices and new findings to combat SARS in a transparent and effective manner;
to appoint a focal point in each ASEAN Member Country in dealing with SARS;
to cooperate in ensuring proper pre-departure health screening for travelers at the points of origin and arrival screening at entry points of ASEAN countries by qualified medical personnel;
to cooperate and establish standardized and, if possible, harmonized measures for proper health screening at borders and entry points between affected ASEAN countries;
to convene a meeting of airport authorities from ASEAN+3 countries in the Philippines, to work out relevant and standard procedures for departure and arrival screening;
to extend equal treatment to foreign nationals who may be suspect or actual SARS cases;
to task our ASEAN Health Ministers to continue to meet with their counterparts from affected Dialogue Partner Countries to forge closer cooperation in curbing the spread of SARS;
to welcome Japan’s proposal to provide assistance to those ASEAN countries in need, including the provision of needed medical equipment;
to call on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Health Ministers to meet and to take collaborative action as soon as possible in controlling the spread of SARS and to enhance research and development capacities in cooperation with related International Organizations;
to enhance cooperation with the WHO, other related international and regional organizations and other medical centres of excellence;
to strengthen existing collaboration between ASEAN and the WHO on identified potential public health risks, especially new, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, with an emphasis on prevention and control programmes;
to request the WHO to conduct a review of the classification of “affected’ countries; review and update guidelines on travel; expedite the development of test kits and vaccines; and formulate and provide further technical guidelines on interventions relating to SARS;
to collaborate in regional activities that support national programmes particularly in the areas of epidemiology, control measures, quarantine measures of SARS cases in each member country;
to task relevant experts to consider a Health Emergency Fund within the existing ASEAN Foundation framework;
to direct the Secretary-General of ASEAN to update the 9th ASEAN Summit in Bali in October 2003 on the implementation of the Declaration; and
to instruct ASEAN missions and committees in the third countries, jointly and individually, to inform their governments, authorities concerned, the business communities, and the general public on the result of this Meeting.
12. We call on the WHO to address the issue of SARS at its forthcoming World Health Assembly in May with a view to recommend adoption and implementation of preventive actions in controlling the spread of SARS in cooperation with related international organisations.
13. We also call on other countries outside ASEAN to show similar resolve and commitment in eradicating SARS and to undertake similar measures to combat the disease.
14. We further call on the international community to avoid indiscriminately advising their citizens to refrain from visiting or otherwise dealing with member countries and, thereby, help restore business confidence in the region.
15. We are determined to cooperate actively in mitigating the adverse impact of the SARS virus on ASEAN countries and urge international community to assist us in this effort.
16. We resolve to ensure the security and harmony of our societies and the safety of our peoples and also of others who are in our countries and in the region.
17. We, the Leaders of ASEAN, pledge to remain seized with the matter and call on the international community to work with ASEAN in the effort to suppress the spread of this deadly disease.