Southern localities told to step up anti-COVID measures amid threat from neighbouring countries

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Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam also Chair of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control, on Friday instructs steering committees for COVID-19 prevention and control in the southern region to tighten preventive measures. — VNA/VNS.Photo Hồng Giang

HCM CITY — Authorities in southern provinces and cities should tighten preventive measures against COVID-19, Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam said yesterday at a meeting with the region’s COVID-19 prevention and control steering committees.

“Last week the Asian region saw a 34 per cent increase in the incidences of COVID-19. Việt Nam’s neighbouring countries are facing a complex situation. So we have to continue our strict control of migration,” Đam said.

Though Việt Nam has handled the epidemic well, people should not let go of preventive measures, he warned.

He expressed concerns about illegal entry into the country via border trails.

If just a few of the illegal entrants test positive for the coronavirus and people in the country do not comply with the 5Ks — Khẩu trang (face mask), Khử khuẩn (disinfection), Khoảng cách (distance), Không tụ tập (no gatherings), and Khai báo y tế (health declaration) — the risk of COVID breaking out again is very high, he said.

So control of entry should be stricter, he said.

Local authorities and relevant agencies should communicate and encourage people entering the country to fill health declaration forms and severely penalise people violating this regulation to ensure safety for the country, he said.

Authorities would provide necessary assistance to people seeking to return to Việt Nam, and they should not enter illegally and be ready for quarantine, he said.

People in countries with a rising incidence of COVID should limit travelling, he said.

He warned that as the National Reunification Day (April 30) and International Labour Day (May 1) holidays approach, there is a high risk of infection, even though it has been nearly a month since the last community acquired case of coronavirus recorded in the country.

Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the city People’s Committee, said last month the city had found 108 people entering illegally from abroad.

Phong said it is necessary to prosecute these people.

The city would seek the Ministry of Health permission to buy COVID vaccines for its people, he said.

The Việt Nam Fatherland Front in the city has raised more than VNĐ150 billion (US$6.5 million) from individuals and organisations to buy the vaccines, and plans to assist pharmaceutical company Nanogen with producing vaccine if its clinical trials are successful.

Since February 10 the city has had 69 days without COVID transmission in the community.

It is carefully checking if preventive measures are being observed at health facilities, offices and other places to avoid the spread of the disease.

It is vaccinating more than 57,750 people, including 9,155 who will get a second shot, but needs nearly 10,000 more doses for the purpose.

Đam instructed south-western provinces and cities to speed up vaccination and increase the fines for not wearing masks in public. — VNS

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