HÀ NỘI — While Việt Nam has had some early success in the battle against COVID-19, the war is far from over and now is not time to relax, Deputy Prime Miniter Vũ Đức Đam has said.
Deputy PM Đam, also head of the national steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control, made the statement while chairing the committee’s meeting on Monday in Hà Nội.
The steering committee said Việt Nam had controlled the epidemic well so far and the country has not experienced any new cases since February 13. Sơn Lôi Commune, Bình Xuyên District in the northern province of Vĩnh Phúc, which had the highest number of infections, has been quarantined for 20 days and is expected to return to normal on Wednesday.
Deputy PM Đam said the epidemic had appeared in more than 60 countries and territories including South Korea, Iran and Italy, meaning Việt Nam and other countries cannot apply a closed-door policy making it more difficult to discover the source of infections.
“We must anticipate every situation, not be subjective and always ready to respond when new cases appear. Whether or not the source of the infection is identified, it must be quickly quarantined and treated promptly to avoid spreading to the community,” said Đam.
In a related development, Việt Nam will suspend visa exemptions for Italian citizens from Tuesday.
Regarding Vietnamese people returning from South Korea, the Deputy PM asked for strict quarantines. After gathering sufficient evidence confirming returnees did not contact, reside or travel through the two main Korean epidemic regions of Daegu and North Gyeongsang, they can be transferred to be quarantined in their homes.
Emphasising the important role of local authorities, Đam suggested they verify information with families with members returning from affected areas, supervise and ensure strict quarantine regulations.
For Koreans entering Việt Nam, the Deputy PM asked organisations to co-ordinate the destinations of flights coming from South Korea. In the near future, flights from South Korea to Việt Nam will mainly serve Vietnamese people returning home.
Organisations should improve training on information technology application to medical sectors from the grassroots level to connect them with experts at the central level.
Regarding positive signals in researching for test kits, Đam asked the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Ministry of Science and Technology to work fast to soon have test kits.
Currently, Việt Nam has more than 10,000 people in quarantine. The early testing will ensure the quarantined people and the community are more assured of the complicated epidemic situation.
Reports of the MoH showed that by Monday, more than 89,000 people had been infected with COVID-19 in 67 countries and territories. There have been more than 80,000 confirmed cases by Monday.
More than 3,000 people have died of the disease, including more than 2,900 in China. — VNS