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FMs of 12 countries vow joint virus response for global economy, health

Diplomacy 12:15 April 18, 2020

SEOUL, April 18 (Yonhap) -- The top diplomats of 12 countries, including South Korea, France, Italy and Brazil, have held a videoconference and called for a coordinated anti-virus response to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy and multilateral systems, Seoul's foreign ministry said Saturday.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha joined her counterparts from 11 countries, which also included Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Morocco, Peru, Singapore, Turkey and Britain, on Friday as "the Ministerial Coordination Group on COVID-19," according to the ministry.

"Global cooperation is necessary to mitigate the unprecedented disruption to the global economy, trade and travel. We must endeavour to deliver a strong and coordinated global health response including developing a vaccine and relevant treatments and to identify best practices," the group's declaration adopted following the conference read.

They also vowed to ensure that emergency anti-virus measures are temporary so as not to create "unnecessary" trade barriers or disruption to global supply chains, and to permit essential travel, including for business.

The declaration also called for the identification of "best practices and lessons learned to assist all countries in recovering from this crisis."

During the meeting, Kang introduced South Korea's efforts to stem the coronavirus and noted that the country has been closely reviewing a possible shift of its quarantine regime to focus more on supporting the everyday lives of people, according to the ministry.

On Saturday, South Korea reported 18 new cases of the virus, bringing the total number of patients to 10,653.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha attends a videoconference with her counterparts from eight countries to discuss responses to the new coronavirus at the foreign ministry in Seoul on April 16, 2020, in this photo provided by her office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

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