VN sets tasks to prevent virus spreading
Update: Mar 24, 2020
Việt Nam needed to strictly monitor people entering the country, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said on Monday while chairing a meeting of the Government’s Standing Committee to hear reports on the COVID-19 situation.  

500 Vietnamese citizens returned from virus-hit Germany and the UK at Vân Đồn International Airport in the northern province of Quảng Ninh yesterday. All were subject to medical checks, health declarations and compulsory 14-day quarantine in line with the health ministry's guidelines. — VNA/VNS Photo

The second task was to keep people under quarantine no matter what the cost, and supervise those in self-isolation, he added.

Phúc also said the possibility of the virus spreading was very high.

“People are still going to restaurants, clubs and entertainment areas, as well as places of worship, which is increasing the threat,” he said.

Data from the national steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control yesterday showed that Việt Nam had recorded 121 cases of COVID-19. No fatalities had been reported, and only three patients were in a critical condition.

The number of quarantined people who had close contact with infected cases or came from hard-hit areas numbered 52,790, including 1,376 people in hospitals, 21,119 in concentrated quarantine sites and 30,295 in self isolation.

The committee’s report also said 338,727 cases of COVID-19 had been reported in 193 countries and territories, with 14,687 deaths, including 5,467 in Italy, 3,270 in Spain and 1,772 in Iran as of Monday.

Tightening supervision

The committee yesterday also ordered relevant agencies to continue supervising people who entered Việt Nam to minimise the chance of infecting the community.

Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam said the infection rate – mostly imported cases – had risen sharply in recent time following an influx of Vietnamese citizens and foreigners either returning or arriving in the country since March 8.

The committee instructed localities to go to every household to identify potential cases and quarantine them if necessary.

The health ministry was assigned to co-operate with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to discuss and equip medical facilities nationwide to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee said.

At the same time, localities needed to co-ordinate the education and labour sectors to take advantage of current facilities such as dormitories to prepare for quarantine if necessary, the committee said.

Also yesterday, the committee discussed solutions for quarantine in the form of self-payment for diplomatic passport holders and experts working on key projects, as well as important trade partners.

The committee emphasised that centralised quarantine was free for all Vietnamese people.

People could support the Government in the fight against  COVID-19 by making donations via the Việt Nam Fatherland Front’s official bank account, the committee said.

Ministry plans

Việt Nam has entered the second phase of the fight against COVID-19 pandemic – a more difficult period due to current complicated developments.

Lieutenant General Trần Đơn, Deputy Minister of National Defence and head of the ministry’s steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control, said the ministry realised the second phase was showing complicated developments because the number of infected cases were coming from difference sources, and management of entry had not been as tight as expected.

This had resulted in numerous difficulties controlling contact and transmission, Đơn said.

“The risk of an outbreak is possible if we do not control it now. The virus could also hit the military,” he said.

The second phase of the COVID-19 pandemic prevention plan is classified into five levels, and the ministry had prepared specific solutions for each level, he said.

Level 1 - when the country has infected cases; level 2 - the country records secondary infectious cases; level 3 - infected cases are under 1,000; level 4 - the disease spreads in the community with cases of 1,000 to 3,000; and level 5 - the disease spreading widely in the community to over 3,000 cases.

Đơn said the army's mission was to take the lead to prevent the pandemic.

The army had also strengthened measures to prevent the virus from spreading and quarantine cases exposed to or suspected of being infected, he said.