Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính speaks at a conference in the southern province of An Giang on Sunday on preventing illegal entries through border crossings in the Southwest Region. VNA/VNS Photo Văn Điệp
HÀ NỘI - Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính on Sunday asked six provinces in the Southwest Region to tighten control of their border areas to reduce risks of COVID-19 infections through illegal entries.
He was speaking at an urgent online conference held in the southern province of An Giang with five other provinces in the region, which are Bình Phước, Đồng Tháp, Kiên Giang, Long An and Tây Ninh.
These are the provinces that share the land border with Cambodia, which poses risks of COVID-19 infections through border crossings.
Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam, head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, joined the conference from Hà Nội, and Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình from Tây Ninh Province.
The conference was held amid the escalating COVID-19 situation, with 257 domestic cases confirmed across the country in the past 10 days.
A number of illegal entries by crossing the border between Việt Nam and Cambodia has also been reported.
Speaking at the conference, PM Chính said: “This is a critical time, and I want to immediately speak to the southwestern provinces about their disease prevention measures."
He stressed the vital role of local leaders in preventing the spread of COVID-19 infections in their provinces, especially the party secretaries, deputy party secretary and chairs of People’s Committees at all levels.
“If the disease gets worse in a province and puts the election on hold, or slows down the local socio-economic development, its leaders will definitely be held accountable,” he said.
“Losing focus and vigilance will leave an enormous consequence on society, on the political system, on the people’s health and national security. So those with responsibilities would have to pay the price.”
The PM pointed out four reasons for the rapid spread of infections and eight tactics to control it, which includes tightening control of the border areas and of legal and illegal entries.
He also stressed the need to prepare accommodations and treatment facilities for 30,000 cases nationwide.
He asked all cities and provinces to come up with scenarios to ensure safety for the upcoming National Assembly and People’s Council elections, and the completion of the 2020-21 school year.
He also asked ministries to collaborate more closely to prevent the pandemic, and the media to continue to provide timely, accurate reports on the process.
Also speaking at the conference, Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long said the number of cases had been increasing rapidly, from different sources in different areas.
“There were several illegal entries in the past week from Cambodia while the situation is still so tense there,” he said.
“Lockdowns have been lifted there, so we should expect a lot more people legally and illegally coming back to Việt Nam from Cambodia, which will increase the risks of infection in the Southwest Region.”
The health minister also asked the southwestern authorities to tighten control of land and maritime border areas, and encourage people to report on border crossings.
“Provinces in the region need to always stay alert, think of the situation as ‘the new wave of infections is already here’, and prepare to deal with community infections,” he said.
They also needed to have their entire medical system on standby and all equipment ready, as well as preparing accommodations for quarantine for a large number of people coming back through the border, he added.
Việt Nam and Cambodia share a 1,270km land and maritime border, with the 1,137km land border stretch going through 10 provinces in Việt Nam. — VNS