|The Ministry of Health holds an urgent meeting on Wednesday discussing measures to cope with the disease and deal with if any infections. —VNA/VNS Photo Dương Ngọc|
HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam ordered ministries and relevant agencies to take drastic measures to prevent acute pneumonia, caused by a novel coronavirus (nCoV), from spreading into Việt Nam on Thursday.
Đam told the agencies to closely monitor the development of the disease in China and strengthen medical quarantine at border gates, airports and seaports.
Đam assigned the Ministry of Health to urgently issue an action plan to respond to the disease following current regulations and recommendations of the World Health Organisation.
The ministry had to ensure sufficient facilities and medical materials, as well as make sure staff are properly trained, he added.
The Ministry of Information and Communication was required to co-operate with the health ministry to provide timely and accurate information on the disease’s developments.
In a related move, the health ministry’s Steering Committee for the Prevention and Control of Dangerous and Emerging Diseases held an urgent meeting on Wednesday to discuss measures for the disease and prepare to deal with any reported infections.
The meeting was chaired by Deputy Minister Nguyễn Xuân Tuyên.
The ministry’s General Department of Preventive Medicine said on Tuesday that the infectious disease monitoring system found two Chinese nationals from Wuhan City with signs of fever at Đà Nẵng International Airport.
The two have been isolated and placed under close monitoring. Samples have been sent to the Pasteur Institute in Nha Trang for testing.
Pending testing results, the Health Department of Đà Nẵng City has implemented strict measures to prevent infection at local medical establishments. The ministry has sent a working group to the central city to step up disease prevention and control activities, the general department said.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cases of acute pneumonia caused by nCoV were reported in Wuhan city of China’s Hubei province. The first patient developed symptoms on December 12, 2019. The number of cases reached 59 as of January 15.
The first death from the virus occurred in Wuhan on January 9. The second person, a 69-year-old man, died on Wednesday (January 16) in Wuhan.
Two other cases have been detected – in Thailand and Japan – with health authorities in both countries saying the patients had visited Wuhan prior to their hospitalisations.
Tuyên said Việt Nam has not recorded any cases of infection so far. However, the entry of this disease into the country is completely possible since Việt Nam has constant trading and tourism activities with China.
In January and February, the MoH would send more working groups to examine disease prevention and control at hospitals and localities bordering China. It would also order localities to take active measures to prevent the disease and stay ready to handle and treat infections if there are any, he said.
The ministry would keep close coordination with the WHO to update people about the disease, Tuyên added.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness in the upper respiratory and gastrointestinal tract of humans and some animals. They can spread through direct contact with respiratory secretions of patients.
In humans, coronaviruses cause illnesses in winter and early spring, ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. — VNS