Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính on Monday chairs an online meeting about COVID-19 prevention and control work in two southern provinces of Kiên Giang and Tiền Giang due to the complicated development of the pandemic there. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính on Monday criticised COVID-19 prevention and control work in the two southern provinces of Kiên Giang and Tiền Giang as an increased number of areas here face a very high risk of infections despite strict social distancing measures in place for two months.
Chính chaired an online meeting with the provinces’ leaders and representatives from 317 communes, wards, towns and districts in the two provinces on Monday, asking the provinces to put the COVID-19 outbreaks under control as soon as possible and “no later than September 30”.
In the last seven days, Kiên Giang Province reported 1,217 COVID-19 cases, of those, 776 cases were found in the community. The number of total infections and community cases increased by 559 and 203 respectively compared with those of the previous week.
In the province, there are seven districts with a very high risk of infections, three districts with high risk and the other five districts in the new normal stage.
Regarding lower levels, 20 out of 144 communes are at very high risk, 32 out of 144 communes are at high risk, one commune is vulnerable to risk and the other 91 communes are in a new normal stage.
Meanwhile, in the fourth wave of COVID-19 in Việt Nam, Tiền Giang Province has reported 12,205 cases and 299 COVID-19 related deaths. In the last seven days, the province reported 1,139 cases including 138 community cases.
After questioning the COVID-19 prevention and control work and getting answers from grassroots levels, Prime Minister Chính said that he was worried about the way the two localities was responding to the pandemic.
The two provinces’ testing capacity still failed to meet the requirements of COVID-19 prevention and control.
In communes and wards, mobile healthcare stations were not set up, thus hospitals at higher levels were under high pressure and unable to save critically ill patients.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health emphasised the need for mobile healthcare stations for patients to access health services and reduce the burden on higher-level hospitals so they could concentrate resources to treat seriously ill patients.
Some localities proposed to extend social distancing measures without identifying when to end them.
Another weakness in COVID-19 prevention and control in the two provinces was regarding improper management of people who returned from COVID-19-hit areas.
Even at checkpoints, preventive work has not been performed sufficiently.
Infections spread from quarantine and treatment areas to the community.
Concluding the meeting, the PM asked each province, each district and each commune to have specific targets and measures to prevent and control COVID-19.
Together with strict disease prevention and control measures in COVID-19-hit areas, other drastic measures were also needed to protect disease-free areas and resume production, he said.
While following the Health Ministry’s guidelines, localities must also have their own strategy in COVID-19 testing, treatment and care to fit their own circumstances, Chính said.
“In areas where social distancing measures are implemented, mobile healthcare stations must be established so that people can access health services as soon as possible,” he said, adding that other areas also had to prepare such mobile stations to use when needed.
If the provinces faced a shortage of medical workers, they should report and ask for help, he said.
In addition, during the COVID-19 fight, social security and welfare must be maintained properly. Communication must be strengthened to improve public understanding about COVID-19, preventive measures and treatment.
“People’s awareness on COVID-19 prevention and control plays an important role in fighting COVID-19,” he said, adding that proper understanding would make people more active in testing, treating and getting vaccinated. — VNS
BOX: Tiền Giang starts mass vaccination on Monday
Health authorities in the southern province of Tiền Giang on Monday started a mass COVID-19 vaccination drive, expecting a commune/ward could administer about 500-700 jabs daily from now to early October.
The province was allocated 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to use in the vaccination drive.
According to the province’s health department, the province would be given priority to get more vaccines in the last few months of this year when more doses arrive Việt Nam.
By September 9, a total of 290,336 people in the province were vaccinated against COVID-19.
On September 12, the province reported 80 new cases. That was the first time in the last nine weeks, the province’s daily infections dropped to 80. More than 3,600 COVID-19 patients are under treatment in the province while 8,305 have been given the all-clear. — VNS