Việt Nam must remain vigilant in face of COVID-19 community transmission risks

April, 08/2020 - 18:42
Despite early, drastic measures to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, community transmission has occurred, Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam said on Wednesday.


A man has his temperature taken at a quarantine checkpoint in Mỹ Lộc District, northern Nam Định Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Văn Đạt

HÀ NỘI — Despite early, drastic measures to prevent COVID-19 from further spreading, community transmission had fueled the spread of the disease, Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam said on Wednesday, urging the whole system to remain on alert.

According to the Ministry of Health (MoH), as of Wednesday morning, 156 of 251 infections recorded nationwide had been imported cases, accounting for 62.6 per cent. The remaining 95 people contracted the disease from other patients in Việt Nam.

The national steering committee for COVID-19 control and prevention urged localities to keep a close watch on the disease, strengthen management over patients showing symptoms similar to COVID-19, and come up with solutions to trace people who had contact with carriers.

The committee said it would keep a tight control on the outbreak using a strategy of preventing, reporting, isolating, zoning and containing, especially with more infections expected in the coming days.  

Trần Đắc Phu, former head of the General Department of Preventive Medicine, said the source of infection remained unclear for cases 243, 247 and 251.

The 243rd patient, a 47-year-old Vietnamese man from Mê Linh Commune, Mê Linh District in Hà Nội, took his wife to Bạch Mai Hospital for a health examination on March 12 and returned home the same day, but might not have contracted the disease at the hospital. Phu said his test results showed he had just recently contracted the virus. The patient was reported to have visited different places before testing positive for SARS-CoV-2.

“It is important we identify the sources of infection. However, in the case of community transmission, the priority is to implement quarantining, zoning and containing to prevent the disease from spreading,” Phu warned.

He also stressed that social distancing was an essential solution to stop small community outbreaks.

Nguyễn Văn Sơn, deputy minister of public security, said the police would continue working closely with the healthcare sector to trace people in contact with COVID-19 patients.

After a week of nationalwide social distancing since Prime Minister's order, people had started to go out again, he said.

Participants shared the view that although Việt Nam has introduced strong measures, COVID-19 continues to spread in the community, as before midnight on March 22, when the entry of foreigners into the country was suspended, hundreds of thousands of people, including many from coronavirus-hit nations, had already entered the country.

Deputy Health Minister Đỗ Xuân Tuyên asked to expand the list of people to be screened, including foreigners staying at hotels, expat communities, Vietnamese nationals working with foreigners who had been to epicentres, and foreign tourists.

The percentage of recoveries compared to infections had exceeded 50 per cent, said Lương Ngọc Khuê, head of MoH’s Department of Medical Examination and Treatment.

“Our current priority is to develop and complete the most efficient treatment regime to prevent patients with mild infections from becoming severely ill, while minimising deaths,” he said.

Khuê also urged medical facilities to upgrade mechanisms to protect their patients, staff and communities from the risk of infection.

Four more patients with COVID-19 had recovered and been discharged from two treatment facilities in the south as of Wednesday morning, lifting the country’s total number of recoveries to 126. — VNS