|Customers are asked to wear masks and would have their temperatures checked before entering supermarkets at Lotte Mart, Nha Trang City. — VNA/VNS Photo Tiến Minh|
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on Wednesday signed a decision to officially declare a nationwide pandemic.
Earlier this week, he agreed with the proposal made by the Ministry of Health to declare the COVID-19 outbreak a national epidemic, after the second wave of mostly imported cases from overseas brought the country's number of patients to over 200.
The announcement was seen as a pure legal formality as Việt Nam has early implemented robust responses to curb the spread of the disease since it emerged in Việt Nam.
According to the decision, solutions and measures to cope with the pandemic following the Law on Infectious Diseases include setting up a Steering Committee for the disease, health quarantine, monitoring affected areas, mobilising resources in society to fight the pandemic, international co-operation, and setting up field hospitals when required.
COVID-19 was deemed to be among the group A infectious diseases according to Vietnamese diseases classification, pointing to a number of significantly dangerous diseases that can spread rapidly and have high mortality rates including avian influenza virus A (H5N1), polio and Ebola.
The decision comes into effect today and replaces Decision 173 released on February 1, declaring the acute respiratory disease caused by the novel strain of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) an epidemic in Việt Nam, after the first cases popped up in Khánh Hoà, Vĩnh Phúc and Thanh Hoá provinces.
As of this morning, Việt Nam had recorded 212 COVID-19 cases. — VNS