Health minister urges localities to be vigilant for COVID-19 amid regional outbreaks

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Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long checks COVID-19 Prevention and Control task at Hà Tiên international border gate in Kiên Giang Province. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s healthcare sector has directed the southwestern region to strengthen measures to prevent COVID-19 infections amid the complex developments of the pandemic in regional countries and the world, said Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long.

In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), the minister said Việt Nam is facing a high risk of another COVID-19 outbreak from the outside, as in the past 24 hours, India has reported more than 340,000 new cases, while Cambodia confirmed more than 600 cases and Laos also saw its highest-ever rise in the number of infections.

Long stressed the need for Vietnamese people to stay vigilant against the spread of the virus while focusing on strictly implementing preventive measures with the hope of controlling the situation.

The National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control and the health ministry have warned of the risk of another outbreak in the country, advising people to take measures to prevent the pandemic from entering Việt Nam from the outside, he said.

The minister said that a number of scenarios have been built in case the pandemic spreads in localities, especially in the southwest region.

Meanwhile, five working groups led by the minister and four deputy health ministers have worked with southwestern provinces to direct pandemic preventive measures, he said.

Stressing that the most concerning risk is the possibility of new SARS-CoV-2 variants penetrating into Việt Nam from Cambodia undetected, he said the ministry has asked at-risk localities to pay special attention to the situation.

Localities in the southwestern region and those along the border with Cambodia have been guided to roll out preventive measures, he said.

However, Long noted that controlling illegal entry into Việt Nam through the sea border is a great challenge, especially in Kiên Giang Province where quarantine facilities in its Hà Tiên City are becoming overloaded.

Therefore, a temporary hospital has been set up in Hà Tiên to be ready to treat COVID-19 patients, he said.

Underlining the responsibility of local leaders in pandemic prevention and control, the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat has directed Party Committees at all levels to enhance their role in the work, he noted.

Regarding the health sector’s preparations for the upcoming Liberation Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1) holidays, Long said that along with advising people to strictly implement anti-pandemic measures like mask-wearing and keeping a safe distance, the ministry is speeding up COVID-19 vaccinations, while keeping a close watch on preventive measures in each locality.

At the same time, tight control over entry activities has been carried out in border localities to prevent illegal immigration, which requires the strong co-operation of all people, he said.

Meanwhile, the Vietnamese Embassy in Cambodia has called on Vietnamese nationals and people of Vietnamese origins in Cambodia to keep calm and implement all COVID-19 prevention and control regulations, policies and measures of local authorities amid the complex development of the COVID-19 pandemic in Cambodia. They were also asked to not try to enter Việt Nam illegally. — VNS

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