|Residents of Vĩnh Phúc Province at a concentrated quarantine facility in Tam Dương District after returning home from HCM City. VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Hùng
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has requested authorities to arrange transportation for migrant workers who wish to return home in a safe and orderly manner, push the vaccination drive and reopen schools in safe areas.
The direction was made as he chaired a nationwide teleconference to review the fight against COVID-19 and discuss socio-economic recovery and development in the near future on Saturday.
He ordered authorities to implement measures to adapt safely and flexibly to the pandemic, continue ensuring social welfare for all as well as study a roadmap for vaccine passports and take measures to ensure political stability and social safety and order.
According to the Ministry of Health, the pandemic in Việt Nam has been brought under control. HCM City, Bình Dương, Đồng Nai and Long An provinces, which were among the biggest outbreaks of the country, have witnessed a remarkable decline in the number of new cases and deaths from COVID-19.
In the last two weeks, the number of cases recorded in the community has decreased by 44.7 per cent compared to that of the previous two weeks. However, some provinces have seen a rise in community cases including An Giang, Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu, Bình Thuận, Quảng Ngãi and Hà Nam.
Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long said the infection rate in HCM City now stands at 0.2 per cent, about 20 times lower than during the peak of the pandemic.
Long said: “Many field hospitals in HCM City now have empty beds and the number of patients at the intensive care centres of the Ministry of Health also decreased by 60 per cent. These are very emotional images.”
There are also good signs regarding the vaccination rate in Việt Nam.
The health minister said the country can administer an average of 1.5 million doses a day.
The Prime Minister has had phone calls, letters and exchanges with all countries and partners that are capable of providing vaccines, Long said, adding that about 74 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Việt Nam to date.
As of October 8, Việt Nam administered 51.4 million doses, of which 23.8 million people had been vaccinated a dose, which is equivalent to 52.3 per cent of the population aged 18 and above. As many as 13.8 million people had been fully vaccinated.
Despite these positive signs, the minister said, the pandemic situation is still unpredictable and the risk of the virus is present anywhere, anytime, especially when there have been a large number of people returning to their hometowns from localities that relaxed social distancing measures.
Leaders of many localities proposed guidelines on welcoming people returning home to ensure safety and that they can be proactive with this work.
An Giang Province’s Party Committee Secretary Lê Hồng Quang said the province had welcomed more than 51,000 people back home and had quarantine and treatment for infected people and brought residents from host localities back to their home wards and communes, which helped to ensure the residents can go home in a safe, orderly and convenient way.
Hà Nam Province’s Party Committee Secretary Lê Thị Thủy said the infected cases in the province are mostly found in families and factories that had been quarantined and isolated. Among seven industrial zones in the province, only one has infected cases in three factories.
She also shared Hà Nam’s experience in conducting testing as rapidly as possible, carrying out isolation and quarantine at the smallest scale possible as well as mobilising public security and armed forces.
She said that the vaccination rate of Hà Nam would be above 90 per cent of the population above 18 by Monday. Good pandemic prevention and control work has helped the GRDP of Hà Nam in the first nine months grew 9 per cent and budget collection at 103 per cent.
At the conference, Minister of Transport Nguyễn Văn Thể requested localities to closely follow the shift of strategy from Zero COVID to safe and flexible adaptation to and effective control of the pandemic.
He asked localities to cooperate with ministries to re-open inter-provincial traffic and commutes to facilitate the economy and promote production and business activities.
Deputy Prime Minister Lê Minh Khái said the economic recovery plan is being established with main solutions focusing on developing tourism, stimulating consumption, supporting businesses and recovering the labour market, among many others.
PM's resolute determination
Speaking at the conference, Prime Minister Chính said the pandemic has been controlled gradually in the last two weeks and there are major factors attributed to this achievement, namely quarantine (at the smallest scale possible), testing (in a rapid, safe, effective and proper way) and treatment (including remote treatment, early treatment and promoting the grassroots health facilities in order to reduce the number of hospitalisations and deaths).
In addition, Việt Nam has gained more experience and become more confident with better pandemic control measures. An important factor contributing to the control of the pandemic is the participation of the whole political system and organisations along with the support of a majority of people.
As the pandemic is still developing in a complex way, the PM ordered all competent authorities to be alert and wise to implement effective measures while not being negligent.
He highlighted a number of problems that have emerged in the last two weeks including the flow of residents returning home, congested transport and circulation of goods, problems in applications used in pandemic control work.
He pointed out priority tasks for the near future. They include the issue of temporary guidelines on safe and flexible adaptation to the pandemic along with effective pandemic control measures that are consistent throughout the country.
He said localities should implement measures flexibly in accordance with the local context.
He ordered localities to closely coordinate with each other to ensure local people returning home or host localities in a safe, convenient and orderly manner.
Noting that vaccination is still an important and decisive factor in adapting to the pandemic, he suggested Việt Nam continue to push the vaccination drive even more strongly.
In the context of lack of vaccine supply, we have to be more proactive and strengthen vaccine diplomacy more effectively, he said.
He asked the health ministry to have a specific plan to receive, distribute vaccines and conduct vaccinations in an effective and safe manner.
The PM emphasised that domestically-produced vaccines must be safe and effective.
Safety is the most important requirement and objectivity and honesty must be maintained and “must not be compromised under any pressure or influence,” PM Chính said.
He also asked Deputy PM Lê Văn Thành to drastically direct the circulation and transport to be uniformly implemented nationwide, including by aviation, railway, waterway and road.
He also ordered competent authorities to do better work to ensure social welfare reaches all people in need while asking the Ministry of Information and Communication and Ministry of Public Security to closely coordinate to ensure the effective application of information technology, ensuring convenience for local people.
He also asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to have a roadmap for vaccine passports, and ordered the Ministry of Education and Training to re-open schools in safe areas. — VNS