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Malaysia's health minister urges ASEAN pandemic 'playbook'

Khairy Jamaluddin says bloc could avoid border closures, improve vaccine access

Malaysian Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says a unified pandemic playbook would allow ASEAN countries to avoid "second-guessing" one another. (Photo by P Prem Kumar)

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations should forge unified guidelines for future health crises, Malaysia's health minister said in an interview, drawing on the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Khairy Jamaluddin told foreign media outlets including Nikkei Asia that the bloc could establish uniform regulations including border controls and drug access. "I think we should develop an ASEAN-level playbook so that things like border closures can be avoided," he said, noting that disruptions to the flows of people and goods had "hurt an integrated region like the ASEAN."

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