Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued a directive on March 11, requesting stronger actions to prevent and control COVID-19 amid new developments of the outbreak.
A COVID-19 quarantine area at a military school of Hoa Binh province
The acute respiratory disease has been recorded in 105 countries with 114,000 infected people. Over the last 10 days, the numbers of infection cases and deaths have risen sharply.
In Vietnam, after 22 days without any new cases, 18 infection cases have been recorded over the last four days, including many from countries with large trading and traveller volumes with Vietnam.
Facing the new developments, the PM ordered ministries, sectors and localities to continue strictly and drastically implementing directions by the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat and the Government leader to minimise the spread of COVID-19, stay ready to deal with the outbreak, and protect people’s health and lives.
He asked them to gear up for all circumstances and keep in mind the spirit of “fighting the epidemic is like fighting an enemy” and “protecting people’s health and lives even at the expense of economic benefits”.
In particular, PM Phuc requested ministries, ministry-level agencies and the People’s Committees of provincial-level localities to push ahead with quickly detecting and strictly controlling sources of infection, both in the country and from other nations; quarantining or monitoring those who have contact with confirmed cases in line with the Health Ministry’s guidance; and checking people entering the country within the last 14 days but not having to stay at concentrated quarantine areas.
He also demanded tightened control of those entering Vietnam via points of entry by air, land and sea; and suspension of the unilateral visa exemption for citizens of, as well as for Vietnamese people and their spouses and children in Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the UK, France, Germany and Spain.
Health declaration is compulsory for all people entering Vietnam; those coming from or travelling through areas affected by the outbreak must be quarantined; and flights between the country and those areas, including those by foreign airlines, must be minimised, according to the directive.
The PM also asked agencies and localities to strictly manage and ensure safety for tourism activities, postpone overseas trips, and advise people against going aboard, especially the areas affected by COVID-19.
In his directive, the Government leader also ordered relevant parties to ready plans for large-scale quarantine; step up the research on COVID-19 prevention, treatment and vaccines; and strictly deal with persons publicising fake news, intentionally inflating prices or violating regulations on health declaration and quarantine.
Steering committee calls on joint efforts to fight against COVID-19
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam at Wednesday morning’s meeting of National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Hanoi.
Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam
Vietnam continues implementing drastic measures and joint efforts to prevent and control the acute respiratory outbreak of COVID-19.
At a meeting on Wednesday morning, members of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control agreed that strict monitoring of people entering the country at this time was a must.
It’s expected that starting from Friday (March 13), new requirements will demand that passengers on all Viet Nam-based airlines must wear face masks, and so should all passengers travelling through airports across the country, according to deputy transport minister Lê Anh Tuấn.
If passengers do not have masks, airport staff will be responsible with providing them free of charge, Tuấn said.
All incoming travellers – both Vietnamese and foreigners must also declare their health condition.
Those who submit false information on their health declaration would be strictly punished in accordance with Việt Nam’s laws and regulations.
Foreigners entering Việt Nam are subject to both international and Việt Nam’s legal regulations, a representative from Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, emphasising that without reporting accurate health status, the visitors could face fines and even criminal penalties if their actions led to serious disease spread in community.
Viet Nam highly recommends passengers of foreign airlines wear face masks too. Free face masks would be available at Việt Nam’s airports.
The committee asked international airports’ operators to arrange separate spaces for those who are in transit.
Anyone suspected of showing symptoms must not be allowed to enter the country.
Public transport drivers, especially taxi drivers at the airports must wear face masks too.
According to the steering committee, 14-day-long concentrated quarantine would still be applied to people suspected of carrying the virus SARS-CoV-2 and those who have been in close contact with COVID-19 infected persons.
Ministry of Health is requested to instruct agencies and localities on concentrated quarantine, especially on reducing density at quarantine centres.
Accordingly, suspected people who are at quarantine centres for three days and tested negative could be self-isolated at home.
When at home, they must continue submiting health declarations online and would be checked by the local authority.
The health ministry was also asked to deliver instructions on disinfecting homes, schools and offices to ensure effectiveness, avoid waste and prevent panic among the public.
Thirty-eight COVID-9 cases were confirmed in Việt Nam as of Wednesday morning, with 16 first cases reported from January 23 to February 13 recovered. The other 19 cases including 8 Vietnamese and 11 foreigners were reported from March 6 to March 11.
Dong Nai to keep schools closed until March end
Students of a school in Vĩnh Phúc Province have their body temperature checked before being allowed to enter their classrooms.
The People’s Committee of the southern province of Đồng Nai on Tuesday decided to keep kindergartens and primary and middle schools closed until the end of March as a safety measure against the spread of the new coronavirus.
These were scheduled to reopen on Sunday.
Secondary schools and continuing education centres reopened on March 2 and are functioning normally.
Cao Tiến Dũng, chairman of the People’s Committee, instructed schools to comply with COVID-19 prevention and control measures and communicate preventive measures to students.
The province will provide all schools with one or two thermometer guns to measure students and teachers’ body temperature.
The Mekong Delta provinces of Long An, Bến Tre and Trà Vinh are keeping kindergartens, primary and middle schools closed until Sunday.
In Tiền Giang Province, all schools are closed until Sunday mainly because of the epidemic threat but also because a shortage of water means many schools are unable to ensure students and teachers’ hygiene.
All students in HCM City, except those studying in the HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy, remain home until Sunday.
The university’s nearly 14,000 students resumed classes on Monday after a five-week break. They had to declare their health status and everyone in good health has been allowed to attend classes.
In the first week the university has been organising training for students and lecturers about COVID-19 prevention and control.
The students have been divided into small groups to study at various facilities. Air conditioners are not switched on in lecture halls and hand sanitisers have been provided to students and also placed in front of elevators, classrooms and toilets.
Students are encouraged to take the stairs rather than elevators.
On Monday Đà Lạt and Nha Trang universities also reopened.
Đà Lạt University has more than 10,000 students, but only 2,700 attended on the first day.
Nha Trang University has divided its students into two groups, with nearly 3,500 attending classes on Monday and the remaining 12,000 starting on March 30. VNA/VNS
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