WHO lauds Vietnam response to Covid-19 epidemic

By Thuy Quynh   February 16, 2020 | 03:47 am PT
WHO lauds Vietnam response to Covid-19 epidemic
Medical staff in protective wear at a field hospital that Ho Chi Minh City sets up in its outlying district of Cu Chi for quarantining those returning from China, February 10, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Vietnam has responded well to the Covid-19 epidemic from the very outset, preventing its spread, WHO says.

The World Health Organization said in a statement Saturday that the first days of the outbreak, when China had detected just 27 cases of the acute respiratory disease, Covid-19, in Wuhan City, Vietnam’s Health Ministry had already issued prevention guidelines, including close monitoring of border areas and steps to prevent possible infections among people.

When China confirmed the first death caused by the new coronavirus on January 11, Vietnam quickly tightened medical control at all border gates and airports. Visitors’ body temperature was checked on arrival; and anyone showing symptoms of cough, fever, chest pain or breathing difficulties were isolated for testing and strictly monitored at medical facilities.

Apart from a hotline to provide the public with needed information on the disease, Vietam also established 45 rapid response teams at major hospitals across the country to deal with suspected cases of new coronavirus infections.

Vietnam has also been doing a good job in monitoring and quarantining those suspected of contracting the virus and in treating infected patients, ever since the nation detected the first infection cases, the WHO statement said.

So far, Vietnam has recorded 16 cases, of whom seven have been discharged from hospitals while the rest are all in stable condition.

Of the 16 infections, 11 have been detected in northern Vinh Phuc Province. The 11 and others who came into contact with them have been quarantined for treatment and testing.

"Early detection, early isolation, and active treatment is extremely important," WHO said.

The UN health agency said it highly evaluates Vietnam’s ability to address urgent public health issues, including emerging outbreaks of infectious diseases.

This result was made possible by many years of investment to improve Vietnam's healthcare capacity, WHO said.

But WHO also urged Vietnam to stay on high alert and be ready to respond adequately because more infection cases should be expected in coming days.

WHO had said earlier this week that the first vaccine targeting the novel coronavirus could be available in 18 months "so we have to do everything today using available weapons."

As of Sunday afternoon, the Covid-19 global death toll had climbed to 1,669 and confirmed infections reached 69,276. As many as 9,702 have recovered.

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