PM requests COVID-19 vaccine priority given to factory workers

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Bắc Giang City has applied social distancing since May 19. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam

HÀ NỘI — Factory workers at industrial parks in the northern provinces of Bắc Giang and Bắc Ninh must get priority for vaccinations, said Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính on Wednesday.

The Cabinet leader chaired an urgent meeting with local authorities of the two hotspots amid surging cases of COVID-19 reported over the past few days.

Bắc Giang Province has recorded more than 1,400 COVID-19 cases, mostly workers at industrial parks, posing a high risk of community transmission.

Bắc Ninh has logged nearly 600 cases, mainly at residential areas and having a risk of infecting industrial parks.

According to the health ministry, the number of new cases in Bắc Giang increased significantly after the locality sped up tests over the past three days at all industrial parks, factories and residential areas of workers.

The number of F0 cases is predicted to continue to increase, but will not be as high as the figure on Tuesday. The community cases are mostly found in areas that have been quarantined before.

Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long said the ministry had sent a special working group including leading medical experts, led by deputy minister Nguyễn Trường Sơn, to Bắc Giang to help with testing and treatment.

Deputy health minister Nguyễn Trường Sơn said intensive care units had been built at Bắc Giang Lung Hospital and Bắc Ninh General Hospital. The ministry is conducting inspections to expand the intensive care units at Bắc Giang Endocrine Hospital and Tiên Du Medical Centre in Bắc Ninh.

In addition to providing equipment and materials, the Ministry of Health will continue to mobilise human resources across the country at the request of the Prime Minister to help Bắc Giang and Bắc Ninh treat serious cases and avoid more deaths.

At the meeting, localities and relevant agencies proposed a number of solutions to control the infection, including imposing social distancing in Bắc Giang and Bắc Ninh on a larger scale, speeding up testing while stabilising lives and production in the social distancing areas.

The PM asked the province to consider quarantining F1 cases at home or at factories and urged ministries and agencies to soon establish a COVID-19 vaccine fund and speed up the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines from different sources.

PM Chính said the infection source in Bắc Giang and Bắc Ninh came from two national hospitals. The virus variants have a high speed of infection.

“The outbreak in Bắc Giang and Bắc Ninh will continue to get complicated with more cases likely to be detected in locked down areas. There is also a high risk of infection from locked down areas to outside. Meanwhile, the provinces have limited capacity in treatment,” he told the meeting.

The utmost goal right now is to push back the pandemic, protect health of people and maintain production, he said, urging local authorities and relevant agencies to take drastic measures to realise the goal.

He asked Bắc Giang and Bắc Ninh to improve quick testing capacity, mobilise all resources possible to conduct quick tests and apply technology to implement 5K messages and vaccination roll-out.

Localities and agencies must strengthen medical forces, equipment and supplies for the two provinces to be ready to respond to the pandemic, utilising available resources on the spot to detect infection cases early.

The same day, Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam inspected the pandemic prevention work at industrial parks in Bắc Giang Province.

Đam, who chairs the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control, urged Bắc Giang to be more decisive in its plans to expand quarantined areas, by all means to stamp out the pandemic.

He praised the province for creative and active measures such as piloting home quarantine, establishing sub-testing committees and response teams, as well as installing cameras to monitor quarantine sites.

Chairman of Bắc Giang People’s Committee Lê Ánh Dương said eight local businesses would be selected to pilot the resumption of industrial production chains, build a pilot model of pandemic prevention and control to gradually stabilise production. The province identifies this as a key and long-term task to fulfill the dual tasks of economic development and COVID-19 prevention and control. — VNS

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