|Deputy PM Vũ Đức Đam speaks at a conference of the National Steering Committee on the Prevention and Control of Covid-19 held on Monday. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — A number of localities have proposed extending the social distancing measures beyond April 15, according to a conference of the National Steering Committee on the Prevention and Control of COVID-19.
Việt Nam has done the right thing in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the risk of an outbreak remains high and the country should prepare for a prolonged war against the disease, said Deputy PM Vũ Đức Đam.
Speaking on Monday conference, Đam, head of the committee, said in addition to complying with five strategic principles – prevention, detection, isolation, zoning and controlling – the tracing of infection and social distancing remained effective measures in efforts against the virus.
According to the committee, at the beginning, people strictly followed the implementation of Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s Directive 16 on social distancing. But recently, there has been complacency among residents as the number of people hitting the streets has risen.
Although the social distancing measures might affect local residents and enterprises, it was necessary to comply with the regulations.
Nguyễn Thanh Long, deputy minister of health, said the steering committee had collected opinions from its sub-committees on the imposition of social distancing.
While the majority of localities proposed that social distancing end on April 15, eight localities including HCM City have suggested extending the measures until the end of April and two said social distancing should last until the end of May.
According to Nguyễn Thanh Phong, chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, although no new infections have been recorded in HCM City over the past ten days, the risk of disease still high, particularly as many residents are failing to observe regulations on disease prevention and control.
The Steering Committee asked the Prime Minister to consider issuing a new directive after April 15, which suits the situation of each locality. Accordingly, localities at high risk would continue to implement social distancing measures for a week. Social distancing would be rescinded for others who are at low risk and they adopt some measures needed for disease prevention.
The Steering Committee also recommended reducing the use of cash to limit the risk of infection.
In addition, the committee also proposed the PM to continue restrictions on international flights to Việt Nam and that 14 day-quarantine would be compulsory for all passengers on entry until April 30 to avoid the second wave of infection.
Many committee members called for measures to drastically stop all possible sources of infection including close supervision of people with influenza-like illnesses and carry out random testing on some groups of labourers, namely manual workers and foreigners. Religious establishments, cultural relics, tourism and recreation centres and street vendors would also be put under tight control.
Face mask promotion
According to the Steering Committee, because face masks produced by Việt Nam have been appreciated by a number of countries, it is necessary to promote the advertisement of the product.
The country should be proactive in securing materials for the production of face masks and protective clothing.
Once meeting domestic demand, enterprises engaged in producing face masks and protective equipment would be able to export their products to other countries, the committee said.
Việt Nam as a whole had recorded 265 COVID-19 cases as of Monday evening, 145 of whom have recovered and been discharged from hospitals.
No fatalities from the virus have been reported in Việt Nam. — VNS