Zero Covid endgame highly unlikely: PM

By Viet Tuan   September 23, 2021 | 07:18 pm PT
Zero Covid endgame highly unlikely: PM
A medic instructs two Covid-19 patients do exercises to recover their respiratory functions in HCMC, September 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Completely eliminating Covid-19 will be extremely difficult considering how it has proven impossible even for nations with high vaccination rates, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has said.

Speaking at a meeting Thursday with the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, he said authorities need to modify their coronavirus fighting strategies as situations evolve, and underlined the importance of factors like the economy, technology, socio-political stability, vaccines, and public behavior in the fight.

While infection and death rates have been dropping in the last two weeks, the situation remains difficult in Ho Chi Minh City, with weak control measures in some areas, slow speed of testing and failure to provide comprehensive relief, he said.

The most vulnerable segment of the population comprises people aged 50 and above, who have accounted for 85 percent of Covid deaths, while the places with the highest risk are major cities, industrial zones and others with a high population density, he said.

If the two major metropolises, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, manage to contain the virus, the rest of the country would follow suit, he said.

With vaccine availability still limited, priority should be given to people with the most need like seniors, frontline coronavirus fighters and workers in industrial areas, he said.

Vietnam has learned valuable lessons from the fourth wave, when inadequate control measures during a national holiday break in late April triggered a devastating surge in infections, he said.

"People play a very important role in making sure social distancing measures and quarantine rules are effectively implemented."

A similar thing happened earlier this week when large numbers of people poured out into the streets in some places to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Such large gatherings increase infection risks, Chinh said.

Vietnam has had 723,963 Covid cases in the fourth wave and nearly 18,000 deaths.

Over 29 million people have got at least one vaccine shot and over seven million have been fully vaccinated.

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