PM okays paid quarantine services as Vietnam strengthens Covid-19 fight

By Viet Tuan   March 24, 2020 | 05:00 am PT
PM okays paid quarantine services as Vietnam strengthens Covid-19 fight
Military push a cart of food offering to people who stay in quarantine at the Military School of Hanoi Capital Command Son Tay District of Hanoi, March 19, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Vietnam will have more accommodation facilities used for quarantining, with priority given to foreigners under a decision approved by the prime minister.

At a government meeting Monday, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc gave the nod to expanding private quarantining services, allowing accommodation providers to offer space for quarantining and collect payment for the service. He also said that foreigners subject to Covid-19 quarantine will be given priority to stay in hotels and resorts if they want to.

So far, Vietnam has quarantined all people coming from areas hit by the novel coronavirus, which causes the Covid-19 disease, as also anyone who’d come into close contact with them, at state-run facilities, including military schools and college dormitories.

During the two-week quarantine, all accommodation and dining services are offered free of charge. As this system gets overloaded, a proposal was made that those who want to stay in more private spaces and enjoy greater comfort should be put into hotels and asked to pay for the service.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism said last week that 117 hotels, resorts and other lodging establishments had signed up to become either free or paid isolation zones for suspected Covid-19 patients, and some have agreed to provide discounts both on rooms and services.

No religious gatherings

The PM also ordered at the meeting that religious facilities across the country stop public gatherings as the Covid-19 pandemic rages worldwide.

"The next 10-15 days will decide whether Vietnam can win the fight against Covid-19 or not," the PM said. Apart from religious gatherings, he also ordered that all non-essential services are shut down. All local authorities should strictly abide by the order, he said.

Phuc also assigned the Ministry of Public Security and local authorities to "knock on every door" to identify everyone who had returned from abroad in the past two weeks for testing, classifying and quarantining.

Also Monday, the national steering committee for fighting Covid-19 had requested that all cities and provinces have to complete a list of all people that have entered Vietnam from abroad since March 8 as also those that had come into close contact with infected people, and submit it to the committee before Wednesday’s noon.

Before the PM’s order, the Government Committee for Religious Affairs last Friday requested religious institutes to suspend upcoming major events, which usually gather big crowds at churches, pagodas and temples every year, including the Easter festival in April and the Vesak festival in May.

The Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam last Thursday had asked Buddhist followers not to gather in big crowds for traditional rituals during the Vesak.

Vietnam now has 645 Covid-19 suspects with symptoms like cough, fever and shortness of breath who have come from outbreak areas or have had direct contact with returnees from stricken areas. They are quarantined in hospitals and receiving treatment.

Besides quarantining, Vietnam has also placed many others under medical monitoring - those coming from virus-hit areas and those who'd come into contact with infected people but are asymptomatic. More than 52,700 people are subject to such monitoring.

The nation has recorded 123 infections, so far, with 10 fresh cases confirmed Monday.

Since March 6, 107 new cases have been added, of which 106 are under treatment. One patient recovered last week.

Many of the currently shops active cases are Vietnamese nationals returning from Europe and the U.S. and foreigners visiting from the same regions.

Starting Sunday, Vietnam suspends entry for all foreign nationals, including those of Vietnamese origin and family members with visa waivers.

The Covid-19 pandemic has killed over 16,500 people, spreading to 195 countries and territories thus far.

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