Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam speaks at the meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Hà Nội on Friday. — VNA/VNS Thanh Tùng
HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam said on Friday that people should be happy with the progress being made to tackle COVID-19, but insisted the risk of transmission in the community was still quite high despite Việt Nam’s efforts.
At a meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, Trần Đắc Phu, a senior adviser to Việt Nam’s public health emergency operations centre, said that in the initial phase the country had succeeded in preventing the disease from entering the country from elsewhere. The second phase began with community transmission, prompting the Prime Minister to introduce social distancing in a timely and strict manner, which prevented the outbreak from spreading further.
Social distancing alone, however, could not stop the pandemic or community transmission, since it only minimised contact between people and limited the spread, he said.
Citing the results of a study on 245 of the 268 COVID-19 cases in Việt Nam, Phu said that more than 40 per cent did not exhibit any symptoms while others only had a cough or fever. Many tested negative for the virus but then tested positive at a later date, which had also been seen in other countries.
He said it was difficult to identify cases of infection in the community as some people did not exhibit symptoms or only exhibited common symptoms such as a cough or fever. These people would remain unknown if they did not visit a hospital for a check-up, and if they had close contact with others the coronavirus would continue to spread.
With social distancing measures now eased, COVID-19 could still spread in the community, he said, adding there could be new infections in the time ahead and large outbreaks must be prevented.
Ministries, sectors, and localities should take appropriate action to develop the economy and ensure social security, Phu recommended.
Deputy PM Đam, who is also head of the national steering committee, told the meeting of the need for continued vigilance because while Việt Nam’s level of control over the pandemic was good news, there were more than 50,000 new infections and 5,000 deaths being reported around the world every day, and the disease had broken out again in many places previously thought to have controlled it.
He quoted experts as saying risks remained high all around the world, and there were still people with the virus in the community.
“We can be happy about the outcome to date and have trust in our leadership, but we should not forget that we have only won individual battles, not the whole war,” he said, while calling on people to continue complying with the PM’s directions and the health sector’s guidance. — VNS