US to share C0VID-19 vaccine or cure with allies
MANILA, Philippines — The United States has assured its allies it would share the possible cure or vaccine for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) once available.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Sunday that his US counterpart, Mark Esper, had given the assurance by phone over the weekend where the US official had also been grateful for the suspension of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) termination.
In a statement on Sunday, Lorenzana said that in his June 12 conference call with Esper, the US official had “mentioned developments on vaccines and therapeutics in the US are making very good progress and expressed their willingness to share them with US allies and partners once available.”
According to Lorenzana, who also heads the national task force on COVID-19, Esper had cited US developments on COVID-19 research after he shared the Philippines’ response to the pandemic.
Lorenzana thanked the US official for his country’s medical assistance and donations in combating the spread of the highly contagious respiratory disease.
The defense secretary pointed out that the conference call was held primarily to discuss the Philippines-US bilateral defense relations.
Lorenzana said Esper had expressed his appreciation for the Department of National Defense’s support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision in deferring the VFA abrogation.
Also discussed were the South China Sea security situation as well as counterterrorism and logistics cooperation particularly on capability upgrades for the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“Both sides committed to sustain dialogues amidst the pandemic and strengthen cooperation between the two defense establishments,” Lorenzana said.
In a later message to reporters, the defense secretary added, “We touched on the joint exercises but both agreed to suspend them until this pandemic is over.”
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