Covid-19 fight far from over: Deputy PM

By Viet Tuan   April 10, 2020 | 08:25 pm PT
Covid-19 fight far from over: Deputy PM
A medical staff is disinfected after taking samples for novel coronavirus testing at a village in Hanoi, April 10, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam says Vietnam got many things right about handling the Covid-19 crisis, but warned “the war is still ahead.”

Speaking Friday at an online conference of the National Steering Committee tasked with battling the novel coronavirus, Dam, head of the committee, analyzed Vietnam’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic in some depth and listed challenges that lay ahead.

"When the pandemic happened, Vietnam was at high risk because of its dense population and being on the border with China. But at the moment, we are only 103rd in the world in terms of infection cases and we still haven’t recorded any death. These numbers showcase the effectiveness of our prevention efforts," he said.

"When the disease spread quickly in the world, the Steering Committee and I did not panic or become passive. So far, the number of cases is lower than predictions, proving that we did a good job," he added.

Before the Lunar New Year holiday, when the novel coronavirus outbreak had just happened, the Ministry of Health invited experts to discuss prevention plans. Vietnam decided on five strategic principles: prevention, detection, isolation, zoning and controlling. The government implemented measures earlier and in a stricter manner than the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other countries.

These principles may look simple, but they were drawn from many fights with epidemics in Vietnam and around the world and they have proved their effectiveness, Dam said.

While Western countries expanded testing, mobilized many ventilators and built many hospitals... Vietnam chose its own strategy after carefully analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the healthcare system and the economy, he noted.

However, the Deputy PM said Vietnam "has only won a single battle and campaign. While the situation is better these days, the whole war against Covid-19 is still ahead so we must not let our guard down."

Agreeing with the Deputy PM, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said Vietnam applied a series of unprecedented measures on a large scale against the epidemic. These measures were one level higher than WHO recommendations. For the first time ever, Vietnam implemented social distancing.

"We have thoroughly and consistently applied the strategy of preventing, detecting, isolation, zoning and controlling," he said adding that improvisation and change of tactics can happen depending on the situation, but the fundamental thrust of the strategy should not change.

As of Saturday, the Covid-19 pandemic had affected 210 countries and territories, infected almost 1.7 million people and claimed more than 102,700 lives.

In Vietnam, 257 people have been confirmed infected with the novel coronavirus, 144 have been discharged, and no life has been lost to date.

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