A volunteer gives out free face masks for tourists in HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo Đinh Hằng
HÀ NỘI — As the fight against COVID-19 in Việt Nam enters a new stage, the country needs to remain “calm”, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said at a Government meeting on Monday, adding that “Việt Nam will beat COVID-19.”
The new stage is said to have started with the 17th case of COVID-19 announced in the country last Friday, after the first 16 patients were successfully treated and discharged from hospital.
Phúc said that Việt Nam had prepared for this situation and would be better at responding to COVID-19. Until now, the country has recorded no deaths relating to COVID-19, while the total number of infections stands at 31.
Phúc said the Government was well aware of the situation and has been active in dealing with it.
“The Government is co-operating closely with local governments, the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control, the Health Ministry and relevant agencies so they could take effective measures,” he said.
“The Government won't in no doubt trade off economic benefits to protect people’s health.”
“Việt Nam has enough abilities, resources, determination and experiences to control the epidemic,” Phúc said, adding that people’s health was the most valuable factor and that the Government would not be passive in protecting the health of the country.
He called on people to improve medical understanding and awareness in protecting themselves and the community.
Spreading false health declarations or skipping health declarations would be strictly punished, Phúc said, asking ministries of Justice and Health to review particular cases to deliver proper punishment as well as deter violations.
The Prime Minister said the top priority at this time was to identify, isolate and treat COVID-19 patients, as well as keep a strong will.
Information relating to COVID-19 must be provided transparently, accurately and promptly. Essential products, particularly food and medicines, must be sufficient to meet people’s needs during the COVID-19 crisis.
Visa-waiver programme suspended
Also, at the meeting, Prime Minister Phúc decided to temporarily suspend the visa-waiver programme for citizens from Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain amid the complicated developments of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Those countries are among 13 nations benefiting from the Vietnamese Government’s unilateral visa exemption programme.
Earlier, on March 2, the Government decided to temporarily halt the unilateral visa exemption for citizens from Italy and South Korea (on February 28) in a bid to curb the spread of the virus to Việt Nam.
PM Phúc also decided to restrict meetings and gatherings and called for further application of information and technology for online administration, management and learning.
He agreed with a proposal by the COVID-19 national steering committee that ministries, agencies and local governments temporarily should not send staff abroad for studying or working except in special cases which had received the PM’s permission.
Phúc also said that the Government was willing to fund projects on disease prevention, control and treatment including testing, diagnosis, treatment schemes or vaccine production. — VNS
Watch our Corona Viral series on light-hearted aspects of the COV-19 epidemic