An empty street in the northern province of Thái Bình on the first day applying social distancing measures. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính ordered local authorities, depending on the practical situation, to apply lockdowns or social distancing measures on the narrowest possible scale and avoid negative impacts on society.
He chaired the meeting of the Central Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control on Friday amid the pandemic’s resurgence, with local infections having spread to 15 provinces and cities since April 29.
The PM urged local authorities to stay calm and closely supervise the situation to respond to the pandemic, sticking to the dual goals of economic development and defeating the pandemic.
“Getting through three resurgences of COVID-19, the more losses we have, the more experience we should learn,” he said.
He called on the public not to be complacent against the pandemic and at the same time, not to panic.
“The more difficult the circumstance is, the calmer authorities should stay,” he said.
Complicated hotspots in Hà Nội
At the meeting, Chu Ngọc Anh, chairman of Hà Nội People’s Committee, said the clusters at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases and the National Cancer Hospital were very complicated.
More than 2,600 people are linked to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases. The situation in the cancer hospital is far more complex than the tropical disease hospital, he said, as there are more than 1,700 medical workers and more than 1,600 patients at the cancer hospital.
“Each patient has one relative taking care of them so the hospital has more than 5,000 people related to the COVID-19 cluster in total. Around the hospital, there are more than 250 accommodation establishments and 650 grocery stores.”
“The city is urgently taking testing samples for screening and stopping the infections linked to those hospitals,” he said.
The city has locked down 15 areas in 10 districts and towns. Along with that, local authorities will conduct early screening to assess infection risks at bars, karaoke parlours, wholesale markets and areas where a large number of foreign arrivals and people returning from Đà Nẵng are living, he said.
More than 98,000 people have returned to the capital city after the four-day national holiday this week, Anh said, adding that the city has prepared plans to respond to any scenario, at the same time, improving testing and treating capacity.
He proposed the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases and the National Cancer Hospital send the list of patients being transferred from those two hospitals to other facilities and report F0 cases early so provinces and cities can track down the infections quickly.
As Việt Nam is facing its fourth resurgence of the virus, PM Chính urged the whole political system to engage in the fight, saying that “prevention is the long-term strategy and must be conducted drastically”.
The anti-pandemic motto should be changed from defence to proactive fight and the proactive fight should remain as the key measure, he said.
Chính asked for stepping up technology solutions and monitoring, sticking to prevention measures and the vaccine rollout.
Local authorities at all levels must hold responsibility for COVID-19 prevention and control work in their areas.
“Upholding discipline is also a pandemic fighting solution,” he said.
In the context of difficult access to vaccines, he urged the health ministry to “take advantage of any possible source to have vaccines and use up all currently available vaccines, prioritising frontline forces”. — VNS