Staff from Quảng Ninh Province's hospital on their way to help local authorities in COVID-19 hot spot Bắc Giang Province. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — The foreign ministry spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng said reducing Việt Nam's achievements in the containment of COVID-19 pandemic to mere luck is "entirely unobjective," in response to queries for reaction to an article by the New York Times published earlier this month about COVID-19 in Việt Nam.
The article, which also included praise for the country’s COVID-19 response, said that Việt Nam prided itself on the success of handling COVID-19 in the past year but that “the country’s luck may be running out as it faces an outbreak in HCM City and the emergence of a new variant".
Addressing the Sputnik News reporter who posed the question, the spokesperson said she thinks that “as a person who lives and works in Việt Nam throughout the pandemic, you would share my view."
Since the pandemic began, with a view to protect public health and prevent the spread of the virus, to both effectively combat COVID-19 and ensure socio-economic development, Việt Nam – at both central Government and local levels – has adopted strategic policies and rigorous, innovative directives, Hằng said.
To deal with the virus, Việt Nam has used unprecedented strict measures – like restricting entry, enforcing centralised quarantine, isolating clusters and tracing confirmed infected patients, ensuring close supervision in quarantine facilities, and effectively quarantining confirmed cases and their close contacts, Hằng noted.
She also went on to say that the health ministry issued the 5K message – Khẩu trang (facemask) – Khử khuẩn (disinfection) – Khoảng cách (distance) – Không tụ tập (no gathering) – Khai báo y tế (health declaration) – and the 5K+vaccine message for people to co-exist safely with COVID-19.
“With the commitment and the efforts and engagement from the entire political system and each and every Vietnamese citizen, particularly those at the forefront against the pandemic, Việt Nam has successfully squashed three waves of infections,” Hằng said.
Việt Nam is gradually putting the ongoing fourth wave of infections under control while ensuring livelihoods and minimising disruptions to business activities, the diplomat noted, adding that the country is implementing a vaccination strategy based on a suitable and scientific roadmap to achieve herd immunity.
Việt Nam’s outcomes in handling COVID-19 have “earned the praise of the international community, the World Health Organisation, and other countries across the world,” she said, adding that the international media – including the US – have also called Việt Nam a role model in COVID-19 prevention and control.
At the press briefing, Hằng said Việt Nam does not discriminate between Vietnamese nationals or foreigners studying, working and living Việt Nam with regards to vaccinations or healthcare services in general
“Foreigners will be vaccinated once Việt Nam receives more COVID-19 vaccines," she said.
Regarding possibly implementing vaccine passports, Hằng said the Government has agreed with the foreign ministry’s proposal on adjusting policies on entry and exit as well as medical procedures for arrivals with vaccination certificates.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has worked with the Ministry of Health and other authorities on favourable conditions for entry and exit towards promoting tourism and mutual recognition of vaccination certificates (or vaccine passports), she said.
They have also considered reducing quarantine time and a number of tests required for those who have been vaccinated and tested negative for COVID-19 and proposed a roadmap to expand those allowed to enter and exit Việt Nam depending on the outbreak situation.
On June 22, at a meeting with Singaporean foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh said he hoped Singapore would share work with Việt Nam to soon reach an agreement on mutual recognition of vaccine certificates and digital economic co-operation to create impetus for economic recovery. — VNS