|Daika Vietnam Company in southern Đồng Nai Province set up temporary tents for workers to stay at the company to avoid the spread of coronavirus and maintain production. VNA/VNS Photo Công Phong|
With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to sharply increase and the national caseload surpassing the 40,000 mark, Việt Nam is under pressure to do all it can to control the pandemic.
That means an all-out push to curb the spread and this week there have been tighter social distancing measures nationwide, and strict travel restrictions imposed.
COVID-19 outbreaks have been seen in 58 out of 63 cities and provinces nationwide, due to the highly contagious Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2.
In the first weeks of June, about 300 new COVID-19 cases were found each day on average, but the daily figure has risen to more than 3,000 cases in the past few days.
HCM City is still the biggest hotspot with the total number of cases in the city since the fourth wave of COVID-19 resurgence began in late April rising to over 23,000. The last week was the first week the southern hub implemented social distancing in line with the Government Directive No16.
Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính told a meeting of 27 southern localities on Thursday that the Government is determined to stamp out the pandemic with top priority given to caring for people’s health.
He said it was essential to consider fighting the pandemic as fighting the enemy which required more drastic, more effective, more resolute, and stronger measures.
The top Government leader asked for prompt zoning off and testing to control the pandemic, along with treatment for COVID-19 patients to minimise fatalities. He also stressed the need to set up support centres, hotlines, and volunteer groups to help people in need; speed up vaccinations and ensure the livelihoods of people, while preventing the disruption of production chains.
Many businesses and manufacturers have over the past week set up temporary accommodation for their workers to avoid the spread of coronavirus and maintain production.
With the number of new cases in HCM City rising, the city on Thursday said it has prepared for a scenario whereby the total number of patients reaches 50,000. The municipal authorities asked the Department of Construction and other relevant agencies to repair and ensure basic infrastructure such as water and electricity supply, and make sure hygiene services at the buildings are functional so that they can be used as field hospitals or concentrated quarantine areas.
Health minister Nguyễn Thanh Long said the ministry is building plans to ensure healthcare service supply in case of 100,000 COVID-19 infections.
Vietnamese nationals and foreigners can now register online for COVID-19 vaccines via the COVID-19 vaccination portal: https://tiemchungcovid19.gov.vn/portal/register-person or via the E-health app for phones using Android and iOS that can be downloaded at: https://hssk.kcb.vn/#/sskdt.
The Ministry of Health has decided to approve the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in Việt Nam. The Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine is the sixth vaccine approved after the US’s Moderna, Russia's Sputnik V and those made by the US's Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech, China's Sinopharm and British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca.
Meanwhile, Japan has donated Việt Nam another 1 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines. The shipment arrived at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport in HCM City on Friday morning.
France said it is to provide support to Việt Nam in its efforts to secure much-needed COVID-19 vaccines during a phone call between French Prime Minister Jean Castex and his Vietnamese counterpart Phạm Minh Chính on Monday.
New quarantine guidelines
The health ministry on Wednesday issued updated guidelines on the mandatory quarantine period and details of a pilot home quarantine scheme for people who came into direct contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases.
According to the guidelines, the time of medical quarantine is decreased from 21 days to 14 days for direct contacts (F1 cases) of confirmed COVID-19 patients (F0) and foreign arrivals, except for arrivals for business purposes with a duration of stay shorter than 14 days, and other cases of entries in accordance with other regulations of the Immigration Department and the National Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control. However, they would need to continue to monitor their health status for the next 14 days.
The ministry has also issued guidelines on shortening the hospitalisation time for patients with no symptoms to partly relieve the increasing pressure on medical staff and facilities.
The past week also saw big cities, including Hà Nội and Đà Nẵng, implement stricter measures to prevent further spreading of the COVID-19.
Central Đà Nẵng City has banned local people from swimming in the sea after the municipal People’s Committee issued on Wednesday night a document also stopping outdoor and indoor fitness and sports activities as well as the operation of hair salons to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the capital city of Hà Nội started to ban dine-in services at restaurants and other food and beverage establishments from July 13, though takeaway services can remain operational. Hairdresser salons and barbershops are also closed. The ban on outdoor physical exercise and gatherings in parks, gardens and other public places is also still in place. No crowds of 10 people or more outside workplaces, businesses and schools are allowed.
The city set up 22 checkpoints at the city’s major gateways in response to growing risks of COVID-19 transmission from arrivals from outbreak-hit regions. — VNS