Mekong Institute (MI) and the Permanent Mission of China to UNESCAP underscored the value of technology to mitigate the spread of the pandemic, as well as to strengthen risk management preparedness at a webinar and report launch on June 28, 2021.
Titled “Leveraging Technology to Fight COVID-19: The China and Collective Subregion Response,” the event showcased findings and recommendations from a completed three-month research study on how P.R. China’s application of big data, artificial intelligence, and unmanned aerial vehicles helped flatten the curb during peak surges in the country.
“This is an opportunity to share good practices that can be adapted by other countries," Mr. Ke Yousheng, Permanent Representative of China to UNESCAP, explained in his opening remarks. He added that collaborative efforts must be reinforced so the region can jointly advance technological initiatives that will foster sustainable socioeconomic recovery in the region.
Discussions from Dr. Phengta Vongphachanh, an esteemed communicable disease control expert from Vientiane, Lao PDR, and Prof. Wongsa Laohasiriwong, a respected public health expert from Khon Kaen, Thailand, were also highlighted. They underscored that information-sharing and active two-way communications remain integral in encouraging innovation and mitigating the transmission of the virus.
“Disclosure of accurate and real time data among Lancang-Mekong countries can help us achieve efficiency, so we can protect the general public,” Dr. Phengta stressed.
This was seconded by Prof. Wongsa, who stated that Thailand’s active use of QR applications has improved the effectiveness of contract tracing, thus helping limit the spread of the virus in the country.
Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, MI Executive Director, also enjoined the continued sharing of best practices through dialogues and evidence-based studies so the region can build a repository of indubitable knowledge materials, products, and tools for the fortification of pandemic preparedness and response.
“In these challenging times, we must set an enabling environment for us to be adaptable in the immediate and long-terms so we can move forward from the impacts of the pandemic,” he said.
The study report, which was completed with support from the Government of P.R. China, is currently being disseminated in government and academic offices across the Lancang-Mekong region. A video was also released to shore broader public understanding of the merits of technology.