|Spraying disinfectant at Vân Đồn international airport in Quảng Ninh Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Văn Đức
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc ordered a thorough review of all entrants – Vietnamese and foreigners alike – into Việt Nam since March 8 to discover COVID-19 infection cases and prevent community spread.
The public security minister and leaders of all provinces and cities were tasked with directing the implementation of the review and making sure that the works is finished before 12pm on March 25.
The order was part of a range of orders finalised and released Tuesday following yesterday's cabinet meeting as Việt Nam saw a soaring number of coronavirus-positive cases – mostly imported – since earlier this month.
PM Phúc has also asked that the transport ministry come up with measures to “minimise” or reduce the frequency of inbound flights into Việt Nam – even those carried out by foreign airlines. The ministry was also asked to co-ordinate with the defence ministry, foreign ministry, health ministry and public security ministry to organise flights into Việt Nam in a way that can avoid causing overloading to concentrated quarantine sites in the country.
Flights landing at Nội Bài international airport in Hà Nội and Tân Sơn Nhất international airport in HCM City – the country’s biggest and busiest airports – will be heavily restricted, according to the notice.
Regarding arrivals via land border checkpoints with Cambodia and Laos, the defence ministry, health ministry and border provinces’ governments are asked to swiftly arrange sufficient space and accommodation for quarantine purposes.
The Government leader has also asked for strict punishments – including legal measures in line with the law – for all those who fail to declare their health status, purposely misstated their health status, dodged compulsory quarantine or flouted quarantine protocols.
The defence ministry is tasked to be the main co-ordinator of all concentrated quarantine sites in the country, even those run by local governments and other ministries, to maintain security, safety and prevent cross infection.
The Vietnamese Government has also agreed that hotels and resorts can be used as concentrated quarantine sites, preferably reserved for foreigners who are willing to pay for the services.
In the notice, PM Phúc noted that the country remains committed to “containment principle,” which includes timely detection, quarantine, treatment and stamping out the outbreak.
He stressed the importance of social distancing and communicating the role of social distance to the general public.
All non-essential businesses – including karaoke bars, massage venues, bars, discos, cinemas, and stadiums, etc. – will be temporarily shut down to avoid formation of crowds.
Large gatherings should be avoided, he said, adding that religious and spiritual establishments must not hold rituals or events that draw high numbers of participants.
The justice ministry is told to study the legality of giving the Government and the Prime Minister more enhanced measures that can be deployed in the case of national emergency.
Sufficient medical supplies
The health ministry is ordered to prioritise Vietnamese-made COVID-19 test kits in their purchase of medical supplies to deal with the pandemic.
All purchases of medical supplies and equipment must be transparent and at market prices.
The health ministry must also work with the finance ministry and industry ministry in making decisions regarding the purchase of surgical masks in order to fulfill the demands of medical establishments in the country, PM Phúc said, adding that producers of surgical masks must only supply the masks to the health ministry and health centres.
Exceptions can be made in cases of “foreign relations purposes,” PM Phúc said, essentially leaving doors open for possible donations and selling to a foreign country, but each case must be reported to the PM. — VNS