Vietnam takes Covid-19 fight to a higher level

By Le Nga   March 5, 2020 | 04:30 am PT
Vietnam takes Covid-19 fight to a higher level
Medical staff join a Covid-19 response drill at a quarantine camp in Ho Chi Minh City, March 4, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Vietnam has to take its Covid-19 prevention to a higher level, given that new infections are still possible, a top health official says.

By Thursday morning, the novel coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 had spread to 84 countries and territories, showing a rapid increase in both the number of infections and deaths.

Under such circumstances, Vietnam has to get ready for the situation of having more infections even after it has stayed clean for 22 days, says Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long.

"Vietnam must turn to a higher stage of preventing and fighting against Covid-19, a stage that would be drastic and more comprehensive," Long said.

He expressed high appreciation of steps taken so far along the nation's borders to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

What happened on Wednesday when a Japanese passenger tested positive for the virus after having transited in Ho Chi Minh City was a typical example of Vietnam’s efficient response, he said.

The entire Covid-19 prevention and fighting system had taken immediate action to quarantine all passengers on the flight that had departed from Cambodia’s Siem Reap. The flight’s crew and everyone at HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat Airport who’d come into direct contact with the Japanese passenger had also been quarantined with haste, Long noted.

The process of finding the six co-passengers of the Covid-19 positive Japanese had also been made in line with the quarantine protocol, he said.

The six people have been identified as a Vietnamese, three French citizens, who had left for Bangkok, an Australian and a Filipino who had returned to their home countries. All trips were made within Wednesday night.

The Vietnamese passenger is now quarantined in a hospital while the family of that person is being closely monitored at home in District 1.

The French citizens had stayed in a hotel on Pham Ngu Lao Street in the district until Wednesday night before leaving. Six hotel employees have been quarantined while the hotel has been disinfected.

Cambodia border

For the higher level of epidemic prevention, Vietnam has turned its quarantine policy to the stage of making a health declaration at all border gates with Cambodia.

Starting Thursday, Vietnam started a Cambodian form for making electronic health declarations, which has been added with Cambodian, South Korean and Italian versions aside from the Vietnamese and English ones.

During their check-in procedures to enter Vietnam, each passenger can use their smartphone to either scan a QR code or directly access a web page to enter the system.

As of Thursday morning, Vietnam had 92 people quarantined on the possibility they could be carrying the novel coronavirus, up 15 cases over Wednesday.

All those who are returning to Vietnam from stricken areas or have had direct contact with returnees from stricken areas and show Covid-19 symptoms will be quarantined, as per the Health Ministry’s guidelines.

As of now, there are 16,191 people placed under medical monitoring in Vietnam after returning from stricken areas or coming into direct contact with returnees from stricken areas but have not shown any symptoms.

The global Covid-19 death toll had climbed to 3,287 as of Thursday’s afternoon. More than 3,000 of these have occurred in China, followed by Italy with 107, Iran with 92 and South Korea with 35. The U.S. has reported 11 deaths and Japan 12, including six on a cruise ship.

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