Stamping out the COVID-19 is top priority: PM

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Đà Nẵng’s Centre for Disease Control has started collecting samples for COVID-19 screening for all 2,000 staff of the Đà Nẵng International Airport considered to be high-risk groups as the central city records over 50 community cases in the ongoing outbreaks.— VNA/VNS Photo Văn Dũng

HÀ NỘI — Stamping out COVID-19 outbreaks is now the country’s top priority, said Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính.

He was speaking as he chaired a meeting on Monday between the cabinet and the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The whole political system, agencies, localities and people should work together in combatting COVID-19’s fourth wave in the country, Chính said.

He also underlined the need to guarantee safety during the upcoming elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and all-level People’s Councils for 2021-2026.

According to Deputy Minister of Health Đỗ Xuân Tuyên, the COVID-19 outbreaks have been basically put under control as new community cases confirmed over the past days were already in quarantine facilities, making the risk of transmissions low.

He attributed this to the fact that agencies and localities have strictly followed directions of the Central Party Committee’s Secretariat, the Prime Minister, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control and the Ministry of Health in pandemic prevention and combat.

In the future, it is necessary to continue to strictly adhere to the principles of prevention, detection, isolation, zoning, suppression and treatment, he said.

The Ministry of Health suggested localities continue to improve testing capacity to trace and take samples, promote the role of expert groups to analyse pandemic developments, zone and quarantine as quickly as possible while avoiding affecting socio-economic development and not trouble people’s lives where possible.

And Tuyên stressed it was essential to strengthen testing and screening of pathogens in at-risk areas.

The deputy minister of health told the meeting that although the number of COVID-19 cases was large they have discovered there were only four main sources. The first source of infection was in Đà Nẵng City, the second at a quarantine centre in Yên Bái through cross-infection among experts from India and China that then spread to Vĩnh Phúc and some provinces.

The third source was from Hải Dương due to a person entering illegally from Laos. which has been controlled and closely monitored.

The fourth source was at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases’ branch in Đông Anh District which spread to many provinces. It has spread to National Cancer Hospital and then continued to expand to other localities.

The outbreak related to the National Cancer Hospital has now basically been controlled, the meeting was told.

According to information from the Ministry of Health as well as Bắc Ninh, Bắc Giang and Vĩnh Phúc provinces, detection, tracing, taking samples and zoning is being implemented very quickly. While more cases are expected in the next three to five days, the situation has been put under control.

Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam, head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has requested the MoH, ministries, agencies and localities continue implementing drastic and effective measures to prevent the pandemic as they have done in the past.

He called for further vigilance because apart from the four sources mentioned above, there might be a source in the community that has not yet been detected.

“People must strictly adhere to the 5K message, especially wearing masks,” Đam said.

“Local authorities must strictly punish those who do not wear masks in public places and proactively in enhancing testing capacity.”

At the meeting, the PM urged the MoH to clarify the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses, and the exact dates they will arrive in the country, he said, adding the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should work together in the search for vaccine resources.

He also asked the ministry to tighten discipline within the sector, and strictly follow current regulations, with priority given to the 5K message.

As for the police, military and border guard forces, Chính ordered them to enhance control of the border areas, as well as to detect and punish anyone in the country illegally.

Meanwhile, localities should stay prudent, and promote supervision and control of the COVID-19 situation, he added.

The ministries of Health and Finance were told to work together to remove bottlenecks for the pandemic prevention work, and ensure transparency and instruction of prices of medical equipment and supplies. – VNS

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