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HÀ NỘI — The fight against COVID-19 will be long, even when vaccines are available, therefore, a new approach and new solutions are necessary, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính said Friday.
Chính told an online Government meeting with local authorities on COVID-19 prevention and control, that the fourth wave of COVID-19 in Việt Nam had gone nearly 100 days. He also said that the pandemic situation, especially in HCM City and other provinces in the southern and central regions, was still complicated.
“We have to take practical approaches to the pandemic to continue to realise the dual goals of pandemic containment and economic development,” he said.
At the first session of the 15th-tenure National Assembly (NA) this week, the NA approved a general resolution focused on pandemic solutions.
The NA gave permission to the Government and the Prime Minister to take active and flexible and even stronger measures to respond to COVID-19.
The Government would issue a resolution on urgent measures to prevent and control COVID-19 following the newly-adopted NA resolution, Chính said.
According to the Ministry of Health, the infection in residential areas and locked-down areas in HCM City is very high. It shows the virus is being transmitted throughout the community.
The ministry has predicted the infection rate in HCM City will reach a plateau then will decrease but the number of cases will still be high. It is necessary for the city to continue to apply strict social distancing rules under Directive 16.
Neighbouring localities with HCM City such as Bình Dương and Long An will report the same infection rate as HCM City in the first stage. The number of cases in these provinces will increase but thanks to social distancing measures and the low density of population, the pandemic there will not be as serious as HCM City, according to the health ministry.
High warning level
Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long said southern provinces and cities must be aware of more severe development of patients.
"In a short time more patients will get into more serious conditions. That is the epidemiological feature of this pandemic wave," he said.
As the infection rate is predicted to increase, the health ministry asked localities to raise the pandemic warning to a very high level and prepare plans for the worst scenarios.
Localities must prepare healthcare services and social security to apply social distancing rules under Directive 16 at any time.
Long ordered localities that are applying social distancing rules under Directive 16 to tighten the restrictions.
Localities must be consistent with the strategies of detecting, quarantining, zoning off and offering treatment. They must stick to targets reducing infection rates, reducing mortality rates, and increasing vaccinations. The World Health Organization continued to require countries to step up testing to remove cases from the community and control the infection as soon as possible, he said.
In order to prepare for a scenario of increasing infections, the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control and the Ministry of Health had issued guidelines. Depending on the practical nature of the situation, each locality should prepare themselves an appropriate response plan, Long said.
Long said that localities should pay attention to their intensive care systems which are a weakness of many cities and provinces.
While preparing their intensive care centres, they must review the oxygen and ventilator systems, the minister said.
All first-class hospitals, and general hospitals at provincial level, must have intensive care units and oxygen centres with the capacity for 50 to 100 beds each. Other hospitals at the district level must also prepare oxygen, Long said.
Also at the meeting with PM Chính, Long said the health ministry was working with other localities and sectors to assess and distribute vaccines. Vaccines will be prioritised for frontline forces, workers at industrial parks and residents living in high-risk areas.
The health ministry proposed mobilising forces to quarantine sites and treatment facilities to assist HCM City and southern provinces to contain the outbreak in the shortest time. — VNS
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