Vietnam prepares large-scale quarantine in Covid-19 fight

By Viet Tuan   March 11, 2020 | 09:31 am PT
Vietnam prepares large-scale quarantine in Covid-19 fight
Truc Bach Street, where Hanoi's first Covid-19 patient resides, is blocked. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
The Prime Minister has instructed ministries and localities to speed up preparations to set up large-scale quarantine facilities and ready all resources thereof.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s directive, issued Wednesday, requires everyone traveling from or transiting through areas with the novel coronavirus to be under strict quarantine upon entering Vietnam. They will subsequently be screened and appropriate anti-epidemic measures taken to avoid cross infection.

The PM has also directed that the staff and members of the armed forces working in such centralized quarantine areas to be protected and looked after well to avoid getting infected.

The ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs have been assigned the task of announcing the list of countries and territories experiencing the Covid-19 outbreak so people traveling from or transiting through them are quarantined.

Tran Dac Phu, an adviser at the Vietnam Public Health Emergency Operations Center, said that large-scale quarantine involves the quarantining of entire communes, localities, streets or apartment blocks, similar to the lockdown of Son Loi Commune in Vinh Phuc Province and of Hanoi's Truc Bach neighborhood.

The PM has tasked localities with zoning, quarantining and immediately disinfecting all areas with novel coronavirus infections.

They have to strictly control people going in and out of quarantine areas; review and follow up on every person who has entered the country in the past 14 days, but is not under centralized quarantine; promptly detect infection sources; and quarantine or monitor those who’ve come into contact with Covid-19 patients in accordance with the health ministry's guidelines.

Localities and functional forces must also strengthen control over people entering the country by air, land or sea routes; and strictly control entry along the southwestern border. Flights between Vietnam and areas with the outbreak, including those operated by foreign airlines, should be minimized.

Starting Thursday, Vietnam will suspend visa waiver for eight European countries: Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the U.K, France, Germany and Spain.

The PM also decided last Friday that ethnic Vietnamese from South Korea and Italy and their family members will no longer be granted visa-free entry.

The PM has also tasked the ministries Health and Science, Technology and Environment with studying measures to prevent, control, treat and develop a vaccine for Covid-19, as also put a novel coronavirus test kit to use.

In addition to restricting meetings and crowded events, the PM has also requested that government agencies enhance the application of information technology in their works, and encourage people to use online public services.

As of Wednesday, Vietnam had recorded 38 Covid-19 infections, including 22 new cases discovered in the last five days. The previous 16 patients were discharged weeks ago.

The Covid-19 epidemic has so far spread to 121 countries and territories, infecting over 120,000 people and killing over 4,300.

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