Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam spoke at the meeting of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Hà Nội on Friday. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyết
HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam reiterated on Friday that there is still a long way to go in the battle against the coronavirus, as the country faced the end of its months-long streak of no community transmission.
The battle will only end when there is a vaccine or an effective treatment, Đam said at the meeting of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Hà Nội, after a 57-year-old man in Đà Nẵng tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 for the third time.
The final confirmation test will be performed by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hà Nội, with the results expected on Saturday.
If he is confirmed infected with the virus, the man would be the first person to have been infected with the virus in the community in 99 days, with no identifiable source of infection so far.
Đam said the incident was a “wake-up call” for all sectors and local governments to strengthen their readiness, asking that health, public security and military forces be on constant alert and refrain from complacency.
Việt Nam has been successful in its management of the disease so far but “we are like a low-lying field braving against the big waves and strong winds outside, we need to fortify our levees as much as possible,” Đam said.
However, with a long land border with neighbouring countries of Laos, Cambodia, and China, and an increasing number of flights that bring foreign experts and stranded Vietnamese home from pandemic-hit regions abroad, it’s inevitable that “our levee will suffer from certain breaches,” but they must be immediately dealt with, Đam added.
He said "the situation now is different from four months ago", referring to the end of a two-week streak with no new COVID-19 cases that was broken by imported cases and community transmission in early March, as the country now has experience in dealing with the disease, especially in suppressing the small outbreaks to prevent widespread infections.
The committee lauded the swift action Đà Nẵng has taken in the case, tracing and isolating the suspected COVID-19 patient’s close contacts within a short time-frame and carrying out lockdown and disinfectant measures in high-risk areas.
A group of intensive care doctors from Chợ Rẫy Hospital has been sent to Đà Nẵng to assist in treatment, as the patient is currently on ventilator.
Acting Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long said large-scale testing will be carried out at high risks zones in Đà Nẵng, using for the first time the Vietnamese-made serology-based diagnostics enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) machine.
Đà Nẵng International Airport will temporarily halt receiving flights from overseas bringing in foreign experts and repatriated Vietnamese citizens, the Civil Aviation Authority of Việt Nam told Vietnam News Agency late Friday.
Experts at the meeting called for stricter surveillance of borders to prevent illegal entry.
All foreign experts entering Việt Nam will need to introduce a negative test for the virus during the past 7 days, and be covered by an international insurer.
They also called for better compliance with prevention measures such as wearing masks in crowded and public places.
Việt Nam's current COVID-19 caseload stands at 413 after a sailor from Myanmar arriving into the country was confirmed positive for the coronavirus late Friday. The figure has not taken into account the suspected case in Đà Nẵng.
Caseload stands at 413
The 31-year-old sailor from Myanmar has been confirmed as the latest COVID-19 case in Việt Nam, bringing the patient tally to 413, according to the National Standing Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.
The sailor works onboard the ship IPANEMA. The ship left Japan on June 6 and arrived at the Hòn Gai Port in Quảng Ninh Province’s Ha Long Town on June 23.
The man was quarantined on the vessel upon arrival. On July 6, he disembarked and was sent to quarantine at the Vân Long Hotel in the northern province. His first test three days later was negative for the virus but the second test on Thursday (July 23) came back positive.
He is being treated at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases No 2 in Hà Nội’s Đông Anh District.
Earlier on July 19, a sailor from the same ship also tested positive for the virus.
Some 10,336 people are now under quarantine at concentrated facilities in hospital, at home and other private accommodations. — VNS