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Coronavirus can still be in the community in Vietnam: Deputy PM



Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam on Tuesday applauded Vietnam’s achievements in its fight against COVID-19 while also stressing a high likelihood of future pathogen emergence in the country.

Dam’s statements were made during his chairmanship of a meeting of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

During the meeting, Nguyen Dac Vinh, deputy chief of the Party Central Committee’s Office, pointed out that early detection is key to successful epidemic prevention efforts, as seen from the quelling of recent outbreaks at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and in Hai Phong at the end of January.

Vinh also emphasized the importance of tactical medical screenings to identify transmission sources and contain the pathogen. 

He noted that the Ministry of Health should reflect on its contact tracing programs and identify optimal isolation plans in order to inform efforts in other provinces.

The upcoming COVID-19 inoculation plan should be rolled out in sync with other epidemic prevention efforts, he added.

Meanwhile, Deputy PM Dam pointed out that Vietnam ranked 173rd in the world in terms of patient tallies and 213th on the ratio of COVID-19 cases to population, an impressive achievement considering the relatively low cost that the country spent on COVID-19 prevention.

“With all due humility, it can be said that Vietnam is ranked one of the most successful countries in the world when it comes to COVID-19 prevention,” he said.

“For that reason, we must stay loyal to the principles and strategies that were employed in the early days.”

According to Dam, those strategies involve five steps: prevention, detection, isolation, eradication, and treatment, all of which have been maintained through different phases of the epidemic.

Large-scale testing

Speaking at the conference, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son asked that Hai Duong Province, the country’s current COVID-19 epicenter, continue its large-scale COVID-19 testing for workers in industrial zones, which involves determining optimal sample sizes and the demographic for medical screening.

Do Xuan Tuyen, another Deputy Minister of Health, also noted that testing in Hai Duong should only be rolled out at factories at high risk of transmission instead of being mandated at all plants.

Eradication out of reach

After hearing the reports of attending officials, Deputy Prime Minister Dam commended Hai Duong’s contribution to the nationwide effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Since the outbreak in the province, only three cases of transmission have been detected outside the isolated areas or quarantine wards, all of whom completed contact tracing to help curb further transmission.

The deputy PM has asked Hai Duong to keep up contact tracing and mass medical screenings in the community as instructed by the Ministry of Health.

“Currently, a real-time PCR test costs as much as two jabs,” Dam stated.

“A circumstance where factories must test all of their workers before they are allowed to resume operations should be avoided, as it is not only costly but also enkindles skepticism about the test results.”

Additionally, busy locations such as beverage stalls near industrial parks, hospitals, bus stations, and wet markets should be closely monitored.

Dam also underlined the necessity of Hai Duong’s vigilant stance against the epidemic even after the isolation mandate is lifted, as Vietnam’s dense population, long border, and demand for foreign experts will continue underpin risks of future outbreaks.

“No one can be sure that Vietnam is completely freed from the pathogen,” Dam warned.

“We must stay vigilant.”

A total of 820 local cases have been detected in 13 provinces and cities since since January 28, when the Ministry of Health confirmed the first community-based infections after Vietnam had gone almost two months without local transmission.

The current outbreak is considered the most serious wave to have struck Vietnam after the first-ever COVID-19 patient was recorded in the country on January 23, 2020.

Hai Duong Province is the hardest-hit locale, with 636 cases logged in this round of infections.

The national tally stood at 2,412 coronavirus cases, including 1,513 domestic infections, as of Wednesday night, with 1,790 recoveries and 35 virus-related deaths, according to the Ministry of Health’s data.

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Vietnam should expect heavy storms in September



Vietnam should expect heavy storms in September

House roofs are blown away by strong winds triggered by storm Molave in Quang Ngai Province in October 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan.

10-13 storms could form in the East Sea this year, with around half expected to hit mainland Vietnam, meteorologists warned.

Though the rainy season will strike earlier this year compared to normal, the storm season will commence later, according to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

From now until May, it is unlikely that any storms or tropical depressions would form in the East Sea, which is known internationally as the South China Sea, Nguyen Van Huong, head of the center’s weather forecast division told Vietnam News Agency.

Yet in the following months, tropical depressions and storms would form on a more frequent basis, with around 10-13 storms expected to enter the sea.

The most powerful would hit around September and October, with more than half set to make direct landfall, Huong said.

Between June and September, tropical depressions and storms will mostly affect the north and north-central region yet those striking during the period from September until the year’s end would affect the central region.

The rainy season has already arrived in southern Vietnam, sooner than it should, due to La Nina, a coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that lowers the sea surface temperature across the eastern equatorial part of the central Pacific Ocean and causes extensive weather effects across the globe.

Natural disasters like storms, flooding, and droughts caused damage worth VND37.4 trillion ($1.6 billion) in 2020, five times higher compared to 2019.

They left 357 people dead or missing compared to 133 in 2019, according to data from the Central Steering Committee on Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

Vietnam was hit by 14 storms and several depressions that triggered heavy flooding and landslides during 2020. Of these, Molave made landfall over central Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces in late October as one of the most powerful storms that have ever hit the country in two decades.

Between late September and mid-November, the central region was hit by as many as nine storms and two tropical depressions that resulted in historic flooding that caused six central provinces a total loss of VND30 trillion ($1.29 billion).


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Local COVID-19 vaccination process remains safe



During the initial novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination drive, Vietnam has yet to record any cases of blood clots or thrombosis occurring after injection, according to the Ministry of Health.

Following over a month of efforts to begin inoculating the local population, the nation has carried out the process by using the AstraZeneca vaccine. This has seen more than 70,000 people, the majority of whom are frontline medical workers and members of community-based steering committees for COVID-19 prevention and control in 19 cities and provinces, vaccinated to ensure maximum safety.

Prof. Dr. Dang Duc Anh, director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, states that the immunisation procedures taking place locally are being implemented at the highest safety level, whilst differing from other countries in the world, including developed nations.

“COVID-19 vaccination facilities must ensure standards in terms of facilities, equipment and manpower, implement the screening, counseling process before vaccination, and organise safe vaccination sessions under regulations set out the Ministry of Health.

Vaccinated people must stay at the vaccination site for at least 30 minutes after inoculation in order to monitor their health status, and are instructed to follow up at home for at least 24 hours and to continue follow-up for up to three weeks after injection.

Hospitals are always ready for emergencies to prevent severe reactions after vaccination to ensure maximum safety for the vaccinated,” Prof. Anh says.

According to figures released by the Ministry of Health, the first injection campaign saw the monitoring system of the Expanded National Program for Immunization record approximately 33% of injected people suffer a post-injection mild reaction which disappeared after a few days with no need for treatment or medical care. In addition to this, about 1% of cases recorded a hypersensitive reaction after injection, with cases being properly dealt with according to regulations.

Dr. Kidong Park, representative of the WHO in Vietnam, states that ensuring the quality, safety, and effectiveness of vaccines in the nation remains one of the WHO’s top priorities.

“Our organisation is working closely with competent Vietnamese agencies to ensure that global standards and regulations are properly implemented to assess and monitor the quality, safety, and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines which are being deployed in the country. The WHO will continue to support the Vietnamese Government in implementing this campaign with a particular focus on priority groups,” Dr. Park adds.

Rana Flowers, representative of UNICEF in Vietnam, underscores the need to accelerate the vaccination progress to ensure the country does not fall into a blockade like many other international partners amid the continued global outbreaks of the COVID-19 pandemic in neighbouring countries.

As part of the Expanded National Immunization Programme, the Ministry of Health are calling on all people to stay active and take proactive steps to implement recommendations from specialised agencies on vaccination against COVID-19. This should be done alongside downloading the e-health applications on iOS or Android in order to recorded when individuals are vaccinated.

The consciousness and actions of each person will therefore contribute to helping the nation quickly achieve the goal of vaccinating the population against COVID-19, thereby creating community immunity to prevent widespread infections of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as a mean of effectively combating the pandemic



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Đà Nẵng pushes ahead with reception of overseas Vietnamese



A view of Đà Nẵng International Airport. — Photo

ĐÀ NẴNG — The Đà Nẵng People’s Committee on Thursday issued a document on the reception and quarantine of overseas Vietnamese citizens coming to the central city.

To ensure coordination in the reception of overseas Vietnamese entering the city via Đà Nẵng International Airport and in self-paid quarantine at local hotels, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Lê Trung Chinh requested that from April 14 through May 31, relevant agencies only receive and provide health quarantine for overseas Vietnamese citizens coming to the central city on flights organised by enterprises that have quarantine plans approved by authorities.

Chinh also told competent agencies to continue receiving and quarantining foreign experts and diplomatic and official passport holders in line with regulations.

Passengers from foreign destinations arriving at Đà Nẵng International Airport must undergo quarantine at local military-managed facilities or quarantine sites in other provinces and cities.

After May 31, if there are more than two flights from foreign destinations per week, the Health Department will propose quarantine plans to the municipal People’s Committee, according to the city mayor.

As of Thursday morning, the COVID-19 infection tally in Việt Nam stood at 2,737, including 2,445 recoveries and 35 deaths. A total 38,743 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or came from foreign pandemic-hit areas are being quarantined across the country, according to the Ministry of Health. —


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