Tightened measures urged to prevent COVID-19 penetration

Wednesday, 2021-01-20 16:01:55
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Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long (standing) speaks at the conference. (Photo: NDO/Thien Lam)
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NDO – Localities should step up their measures to prevent COVID-19 from penetrating into Vietnam, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Response has suggested.

>>> Only one new COVID-19 case found on Jan 19

At a teleconference on January 19 discussing epidemic prevention and control, Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said that COVID-19 is still progressing in a complicated manner around the world with infections expected to hit 100 million cases very soon, while more than two million deaths have been recorded.

In Vietnam, there have been no local infections found in the community for some time, but the risk of COVID-19 penetration is still high, especially as the Lunar New Year (Tet) draws near.

The Ministry of Health has advised the Prime Minister minimise entry by air into Vietnam and the government leader has issued documents to effectuate this work, with restrictions applied to flights, including repatriation flights to bring back Vietnamese citizens from abroad, at the highest level from now until Tet, aiming to ensure a safe Tet holiday for all.

However, in terms of road borders, the risk of COVID-19 penetration via border gates, border trails and illegal border crossing is still high, despite the border force having strengthened its patrols along border lines.

Against such a backdrop, Minister Long recommended all localities focus on strict management and handling of illegal entries, saying that the concerned authorities should not prohibit overseas Vietnamese from returning home to enjoy Tet with their families, as long as they return through official channels and undergo medical isolation as prescribed to ensure safety for the community at large.

The National Steering Committee also proposed the mobilisation of the entire people to detect illegal entry without medical quarantine and report any to local government. “We wish that those whose relatives working abroad have commitments with local authorities to not to welcome their family members back home if they do not wish to undergo medical isolation,” Long emphasised.

Regarding concentrated quarantine, the minster urged absolute prevention of cross-infection in quarantine camps, with all cases, including experts, flight crews and every other entry isolated at concentrated camps for 14 days without exception, in line with the directions of the Prime Minister, except in special diplomatic cases as decided upon by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“We have to hold tight to control COVID-19 infection. Although some countries have already started vaccinations, the COVID-19 infection is spreading faster than injection rates,” Long warned.

He asked localities to remain prepared for any new outbreak in the community, urging the speeding up of localisation, quarantine and tracing to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. Medical facilities need to be put on the highest level of alarm, so as not to let infection occur within their campuses.

Long also announced that at present, all test samples of those who will participate in the upcoming 13th National Party Congress are negative. The Ministry of Health has taken the necessary measures to facilitate the congress’s organisation in the safest way possible, Long stressed.