Forcing people to forego COVID-19 aid will be punished: PM

May 15, 2020 - 17:48

Local authorities must not force citizens to sign refusals to receive State aid, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc stressed at Friday Government meeting on COVID-19. 


Đà Nẵng residents receive relief payments on Wednesday. — VNA/VNS Photo 

HÀ NỘI — Local authorities must not force citizens to sign refusals to receive State aid, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc stressed at Friday’s Government meeting on COVID-19. 

If detected, these cases will be strictly handled as fraud, he added. 

According to the PM, in nearly 30 days without community transmission, Việt Nam has moved towards the double goals of fighting the pandemic and accelerating business to avoid economic interruptions. The US$2.6 billion relief package has been adopted to help the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and its impacts. 

Many affected people eligible for the relief payments, however, have refused to receive their shares, saying they want to save it for others in need. These acts of kindness are applauded. However, Phúc said it is prohibited for local authorities to ask people to give up on their allowances. 

The national switchboard at 111 has recently received reports from different localities saying authorities encourage people to not receive their relief payments. 

People of Hà Nội’s outlying district Ứng Hoà, for example, said the local authorities prepared request forms refusing to get allowances for them to sign. Several near-poor households in Quảng Xương District, Thanh Hoá Province, reported that after receiving the payments, heads of their communes encouraged them to send it back “as the Government is in a troubling time.” Local residents said request forms were also given by authorities. 

“These are citizens’ reports to the switchboard which we have not verified. These calls will be forwarded to agencies under Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) as well as the ministry’s Inspectorate,” Nguyễn Công Hiệu, deputy director of MOLISA’s Center for Communication Services Consulting told Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper on Thursday. 

Việt Nam will continue good management inside and lockdown from outside. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was tasked to develop roadmaps and criteria to bring back Vietnamese nationals from overseas. At the same time, the PM encouraged Vietnamese citizens abroad to stay in their host countries if possible as the domestic healthcare sector will not be capable of ensuring safety and properly taking care of individuals in case they flock home. 

Although Việt Nam has gone nearly a month without community transmission, the country has to remain vigilant, Phúc said. 

Preventing imported cases is the key task. The granting of tourist visas continues to be halted. Only investors, experts and official visitors at embassies are eligible for visa issuance and will be quarantined upon arrival in Việt Nam. 

The healthcare sector and related State agencies were urged to accelerate IT applications in preventing and controlling the disease as well as maintaining rapid response forces to promptly contain outbreaks. 


A group of tourists take photos at Ninh Bình Province's Tam Cốc-Bích Động Scenery Complex. Việt Nam's domestic tourism plans to reopen as social distancing measures are eased. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Đức

Việt Nam needs to boost the manufacturing sector, import/export and domestic tourism following a relaxation in restrictions. The country is preparing to receive foreign tourists, firstly those from countries which have performed well in the fight against the pandemic. 

Medical supplies including surgical masks, test kits and other equipment will be prioritised for export, said the PM. Việt Nam also commits to improving international cooperation and sharing experiences in containing COVID-19. 

As there has not been a safe and effective vaccine, Việt Nam needs to develop a new, long-term strategy which is both effective in terms of public health and sustainable for the economy. 

Phúc also asked law enforcement forces to stay alert to hinder community transmission and cross transmission in centralised quarantine camps.

As of Friday morning, Việt Nam confirmed 312 infections with 24 latest cases returning from Russia on Wednesday. 

260 patients were given the all-clear. A British pilot – Việt Nam’s 91st COVID-19 patient – is in critical condition, suffering 90 per cent damage to his lungs with a transplant prescribed. As of Friday morning, up to 50 Vietnamese people have volunteered to donate part of their lungs to save the patient. — VNS