Vietnam PM declares Covid-19 a national epidemic

By Viet Tuan    March 31, 2020 | 10:35 pm PT
Vietnam PM declares Covid-19 a national epidemic
A group of medical workers prepare to take samples for mass testing of Covid-19 in Hanoi, March 31, 2020. Photo by VnExpres/Giang Huy.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc officially declared Covid-19 a national epidemic Wednesday afternoon, as the infection tally reached 212 in 25 localities.

When the PM had declared the Covid-19 outbreak an epidemic on February 1, there were only six people infected by the disease in three provinces - Khanh Hoa, Thanh Hoa and Vinh Phuc.

The government then classified the coronavirus infection a "class A infectious disease of global emergency" that can transmit from human to human through the respiratory system.

According to the Law on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, class A infectious diseases consist of extremely dangerous infectious diseases that are capable of rapid, widespread transmission with a high mortality rate.

Class A infectious diseases include polio, influenza A-H5N1, plague, smallpox, Ebola, Lassa and Marburg hemorrhagic fever, West Nile fever, yellow fever, cholera, severe acute respiratory infections caused by viruses and other dangerous infectious diseases of unknown cause.

Vietnam has implemented 10 forms of responses under the Law on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, including the establishment of the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, implementing health declarations requirements, organizing testing and mobilizing resources for treatment.

This time, the Prime Minister officially and specifically pronounced the Covid-19 a national epidemic, with infections recorded in 25 of 63 cities and provinces, Hanoi and HCMC the worst hit.

The Law on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases stipulates that the Prime Minister declares a disease an epidemic at the request of the Minister of Health for Group A infectious diseases when it spreads from one province to another and seriously affects lives and people's health.

At a higher level, this law also states that, the legislative National Assembly declares a state of emergency at the request of the prime minister. In cases when the National Assembly Standing Committee cannot meet immediately, the president shall issue an emergency declaration.

As of Wednesday morning, Vietnam had recorded 212 infections, of which 63 have been discharged from hospital.

To date, the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed more than 42,300 lives in 203 countries and territories.

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