Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính chairs permanent Government's meeting on Monday. – VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI – The pandemic is now under control nationwide without any new clusters of unclear origin, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính told permanent Government members who met on Monday.
In spite of COVID-19, the country was still doing well in realising the dual goals of containing the pandemic and developing the economy, he said.
"Buying COVID-19 vaccines is a necessary and urgent task that must be carried out immediately, " he said regarding the Ministry of Health (MoH)’s plan to buy the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Minister Nguyễn Thanh Long said Pfizer did not agree to negotiate the price or contract conditions, and the Vietnamese side must reply to the company on May 18 at the latest.
PM Chính said procuring COVID-19 vaccines is necessary and urgent as stated by the Politburo and the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat in Official Dispatch No 50-CV/TW, dated February 19, and the Government in Resolution No 21/NQ-CP, issued on February 26.
In the spirit of “combating the pandemic is like combating the enemy” and facing the global shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, he requested the MoH and other ministries and sectors to uphold their sense of responsibility to carry out measures to obtain vaccines as soon as possible.
As this is an emergency situation, the vaccine procurement must be handled in line with legal regulations on special and urgent circumstances and conducted immediately, the Government leader added.
PM Chính urged the entire political system and people to take a more swift and drastic approach to driving back the virus.
The PM admitted that during this outbreak, new variants are spreading more quickly in cities and provinces, especially in industrial parks, putting pressure on the country ahead of the upcoming elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and People’s Councils for the 2021-26 tenure.
PM Chính pointed out that the pathogen started in the community, showing loosened immigration and quarantine management. Some units and localities have let down their guard.
He asked for imposing strict penalties on violations.
Some other agencies and localities did not fully prepare available resources, so when the pandemic broke out again, they were not ready, lacking supplies, products and staff.
The Cabinet leader also praised Hà Nội, Đà Nẵng and Vĩnh Phúc, which had experience in combating the pandemic, for responding very quickly while blaming some agencies, units and localities for a passive response.
He highlighted the engagement of the public as a strategic role in the fight against COVID-19.
During the pandemic, the solidarity of the whole nation has been strongly promoted. People in COVID-free areas helped pandemic-hit areas. People outside the quarantine areas supported those in isolation.
Although the growth rate in the first quarter has not met the target, Việt Nam still kept a positive growth level. As of May 16, State budget collection reached almost 50 per cent of the target for the whole year.
As preparations for the upcoming elections are in the right place and on schedule, "taking care of people’s health is a priority," he added.
To meet the target, he asked agencies and sectors to adapt to the new situation in the spirit of “fighting the pandemic is like fighting the enemy”, learn from experience from the previous three outbreaks, and continue following the 5K message as recommended by the Health Ministry.
Ministries, agencies and localities were required to pool resources to step up COVID-19 testing, carry out the “vaccine strategy”, use modern technology as instructed by the Ministry of Information and Communications to fight the pandemic, and prepare medical supplies and financial resources for the effort, contributing to protecting public health and national interests.
They were assigned to devise scenarios for any case, raise public awareness of the anti-pandemic work, and spread effective models.
The Government leader also directed agencies and localities to flexibly apply the State regulations considering their circumstances, stay calm and not let their guard down.
Participants at the event looked at mechanisms, policies and the efficiency of measures to fight the pandemic, reviewed the compliance with directions by the Secretariat, State President, Government, Prime Minister, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, and the Health Ministry, as well as the involvement of ministries and agencies in the fight. – VNS