Coronavirus: Asean summit in Vietnam postponed until end-June

A woman waits at a bus stop in Hanoi on March 17, 2020.
A woman waits at a bus stop in Hanoi on March 17, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

HANOI (REUTERS) - A summit of South-east Asian and other international leaders scheduled in Vietnam early next month has been postponed until end-June due to worries about coronavirus, Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday (March 19).

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has informed leaders of other South-east Asian countries about the postponement, the ministry said.

The 36th summit of the 10-member Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) had been scheduled to take place from April 6 to 9 in Vietnam, the group's chair this year.

The postponement decision came after Vietnam announced on March 17 that it would introduce mandatory quarantine for all visitors from the United States, Europe and Asean countries and suspend the issue of new visas for all foreign nationals.

The coronavirus pandemic, which has killed nearly 9,000 people worldwide and had infected 76 people in Vietnam as of late Thursday, has already forced the cancellation of a meeting between Asean and the United States slated for March 14.

Asean consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.