Tràng Tiền Street in Hà Nội's centre is quiet after a lot of stores, cafes and restaurants are closed to prevent COVID-19. VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has ordered local authorities at all levels to suspend meetings and events with more than 20 people to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
At a meeting between the Government’s permanent members and National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on Thursday, the Cabinet leader called on the public to stay indoors except for essential needs, and refrain from travelling.
He ordered the suspension of religious ceremonies and the closure of unnecessary services like message parlors, dance clubs, karaoke bars, beauty and physical therapy centres, cinemas, beer stalls, restaurants, tourism sites and entertainment venues.
He emphasised that big cities including Hà Nội, HCM City, Đà Nẵng and Cần Thơ must close except for food and pharmacy services.
Gatherings of more than 10 people outside offices, schools and hospitals have also been banned.
Localities have been asked to suspend public transport schedules, and airlines have been ordered to limit flights from Hà Nội and HCM City to other localities.
“These measures will be effective from March 28, and implemented for several weeks, maybe longer,” he said.
As the number of cases in Việt Nam starts to rise and cross-infection in community and at healthcare facilities have been reported, PM Phúc asked health facilities to conduct virus tests on medical workers prone to high risk of infection and avoid gatherings of large crowds.
“Local authorities and sectors are responsible for caring for medical staff working at COVID-19 treatment facilities,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, between March 7 and 24, more than 36,900 foreigners, mostly from China, the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Iran and more than 44,600 Vietnamese people entered Việt Nam.
The majority of them completed health declarations and have self quarantined or been put in concentrated quarantine areas.
Việt Nam has so far recorded 148 COVID-19 cases in 23 provinces and cities, including 13 people Vietnamese nationals.
More than 40 per cent of the cases did not display symptoms like coughing, a fever or difficulty breathing, according to the committee.
PM Phúc requested the Ministry of National Defence and Ministry of Health to team up to build temporary hospitals if needed. The Ministry of Health should have plans to use some hospitals for pandemic prevention and control where necessary. Hà Nội and HCM City must have more virus testing labs to increase their capacity.
Those who skip health declarations or quarantine must be strictly sanctioned, including criminal punishment, he said. — VNS