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G20 Health Ministers Meeting: Việt Nam deploys war-like symbolism in fighting COVID-19

Update: April, 20/2020 - 11:54
A medical worker takes a blood sample for COVID-19 testing in Hà Nội's Long Biên Fruit wholesale market. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — The Government of Việt Nam appeals for national unity and has deployed war-like symbolism in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Deputy Health Minister Trương Quốc Cường said at an online meeting of G20 Health Ministers held on Sunday.

Sharing the country’s experiences in fighting the pandemic, Cường said that Việt Nam had been applying four key strategies, including prevention, early detection, isolation and treatment.

It engaged local authorities to direct and mobilise all resources on site including commands, forces, means and logistics.

“Rather than embark on mass testing, Việt Nam has focused on isolating infected people and tracking down their second and third-hand contacts,” Cường said, adding that measures to prevent the transmission from abroad were implemented early while local authorities kept identifying and controlling the transmission effectively within the country.

Measures have been taken to manage, control and limit the spread of the disease, such as early isolation for suspected cases, mass testing for everyone coming from affected areas and epicentres, as well as social distancing. 

“We have actively collaborated with multi-sectoral partners to improve testing, research, investigation and treatment protocols for the most effective outcomes despite limited resources.”

“A health app was introduced for citizens to update their daily health status and provide information about suspected cases in their residential areas,” he said, adding that the app also helped the nation’s health sector identify individuals in need of medical assistance in the fastest and most effective manner, serving as an official channel to disseminate news on the epidemic as well as health recommendations to citizens.

Cường also told the participants that the Government of Việt Nam issued policies to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, including tax breaks, permission for late payment of taxes, and deferment of land use fees for businesses, while simultaneously offering many policies to support businesses, investors, small traders, and the people.

“Việt Nam adopted a dual approach of containing and controlling the outbreak while sustaining socio-economic stability and fending off disruption. Immediate actions have been taken to help people facing hardships, particularly the vulnerable, the poor and workers, making sure that no one is left behind,” Cường said.

As the current Chair of ASEAN and non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, Việt Nam also made efforts to raise the coherent response to the epidemic: timely sharing of information on COVID-19 detection and treatment, standardised measures of health inspection at borders and entry points and consular assistance to ASEAN nationals in needy situations.

A cross sectoral ASEAN working group involving senior officials on health, foreign affairs, information, defence, immigration, and transport, was established with a view to developing a regional holistic response to the pandemic and its widespread disruptions.

Some practical measures were in agreement to ensure information exchange and policy coordination among Member States, strengthening ASEAN’s response capacity to public health emergencies, setting up regional medical stockpiles, and developing an ASEAN pandemic support fund, Cường said.

The deputy minister also presented Việt Nam’s recommendations which concentrate on further strengthening dialogue and cooperation mechanisms in response to COVID-19 and addressing common challenges for peace and stability in the region and in the world.

The World Health Organization should continue taking the lead in mobilising and coordinating efforts, particularly in developing vaccines and treatment drugs, and providing medical supplies and equipment.

“Việt Nam supports the development of an appropriate coordination mechanism to ensure equitable and affordable access to new products for all countries and populations,” Cường said.

He also emphasised the need to strengthen preparedness and International Health Regulations (IHR) capacities.

“As the declaration of a public health emergency, the IHR capacities should be accelerated including surveillance and risk assessment, laboratories, infection prevention and control and clinical management, risk communication, especially for countries with weaker health systems.”

Following the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit last month, the G20 Health Ministers Meeting on Sunday called for medical solutions to address the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly digital solutions for global co-operation, and then, pointing out prioritised responses to the pandemic.

The online meeting was chaired by Minister of Health of Saudi Arabia Tawfig Al Rabiah.

Until Monday morning, as many as 2,407,294 COVID-19 cases were confirmed all over the world, of which, 624,974 people had recovered, and 165,049 people died of the pandemic. In Việt Nam, the COVID-19 cases number has remained at 268 for the last four days, with 202 patients recovered and no deaths reported. — VNS

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