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PM order cutback on inbound flights until after Tết over new coronavirus variant concerns

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Entrants on a flight from South Korea waiting in line for customs procedures after landing at Nội Bài International Airport in Hà Nội in September 2020. — VNA/ Photo Huy Hùng

HÀ NỘI — The Vietnamese Government has decided to “minimise the number of inbound flights” into Việt Nam until after the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday as more contagious variants of coronavirus have been recorded up in many countries.

In a directive communicating the decision from Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc issued on Saturday, the country will only allow in “truly necessary” flights that have been approved on a case-by-case basis by five ministries – the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Transport, and the Ministry of Defence – along with approval from the PM himself.

Việt Nam closed its border in March last year to curb the spread of the pandemic but has gradually opened up to a limited number of flights – including repatriated Vietnamese citizens from overseas, foreign business executives and experts or skilled workers, and diplomats.

The Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Health are tasked with preparing facilities to implement mandatory quarantine for all Vietnamese entrants. Quarantine length and protocol must be reviewed to take into account the increased transmissibility of the new variants of the virus.

The directive asks local governments to beef up inspections of quarantine facilities under their jurisdictions (except centralised facilities managed by the military) to ensure the observance of COVID-19 prevention and control regulations.

All short-term foreign entries will be placed under centralised quarantine for 14 days, except in special cases considered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Local health departments must ensure the transport, reception and follow-up medical monitoring of people discharged from quarantine facilities are conducted properly and transgressions are strictly punished.

PM Phúc ordered the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Public Security to enhance entry and exit management on the country’s land, sea, and other waterway border routes.

The Ministry of Public Security and provincial/municipal people’s committees should work with local administrations to communicate to families with members staying overseas to discourage illegal entry.

People who wish to return to Việt Nam via land routes but suffer financial difficulties will be considered for quarantine fee support by local authorities, according to the directive.

After the Tết holiday ends (around mid-February), the Ministry of Transport should study the resumption of regular commercial flights as per the Government’s instructions to serve the dual goal of pandemic containment and economic recovery, as well as the travel needs of citizens. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/society/855273/pm-order-cutback-on-inbound-flights-until-after-tet-over-new-coronavirus-variant-concerns.html

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Vietnam records five new COVID-19 cases on February 26 evening

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Vietnam reported five new COVID-19 infections on February 26 evening, including four domestically-transmitted cases in Hai Duong and one imported case in Dong Thap province.

Vietnam records five new COVID-19 cases on February 26 evening hinh anh 1

Twenty-seven more COVID-19 patients in Hai Duong province have been give the all-clear from coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (Photo: VNA)

The new infections brought the total number of patients in the country to 2,426, including 831 domestically-transmitted cases since new outbreaks hit Vietnam on January 27, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

By the afternoon of February 26, 10 provinces and cities, which had been previously struck by the latest outbreaks, had seen no new locally-transmitted cases for 14 days, including Hoa Binh, Dien Bien, Ha Giang, Binh Duong, Hung Yen, Bac Giang, Gia Lai, Bac Ninh, Quang Ninh and Ho Chi Minh City.

The Subcommittee for Treatment reported that 35 more patients were declared to recover from the disease on February 26, raising the total number of recoveries to 1,839.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths related to COVID-19 was still kept at 35.

Among active patients undergoing treatment at medical establishments, 45 tested negative for coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 once, 60 twice and 72 thrice.

As many as 76,495 people who had close contact with confirmed patients or entered Vietnam from pandemic-hit region are being quarantined nationwide, including 580 in hospitals, 12,038 in concentrated quarantine establishments and the remaining 63,877 at their residences./. VNA

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/society/vietnam-records-five-new-covid-19-cases-on-february-26-evening-715839.html

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Vietnam enters second phase of Covid-19 vaccine trials

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Vietnam enters second phase of Covid-19 vaccine trials

A man in Long An Province is injected with Nanocovax, a Vietnamese Covid-19 vaccine, as part of the second phase of its human trials, February 26, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.


Vietnam began the second phase of domestic Covid-19 vaccine human trials Friday with 73 volunteers.

Thirty-five volunteers in Hanoi and 38 in southern Long An Province were divided into four groups for the second phase of human trials of Nanocovax, a Vietnamese Covid-19 vaccine produced by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC.

Groups would be injected with placebos, as well as 25 microgram, 50 microgram and 75 microgram doses each. Volunteers would not know which type of shot they received.

Following their shots, all volunteers would be monitored for 60 minutes. Afterwards, they would be medically monitored by local authorities at home.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam visited the site Friday morning, saying Vietnam is doing its best to hasten progress for a Covid-19 vaccine while still ensuring the process adheres to the highest standards.

Nhu, 36 and a teacher, was one of the first Covid-19 vaccine trial volunteers during the first phase commenced last year. She said her health so far has been very good, and she has formed a Facebook group to counsel those who wish to participate in the trial’s second phase.

Nhu participated in the second phase Friday too.

“I’m the evidence to prove the success of the trial vaccine, and I’m very proud,” she said.

Dan, 63, said she had known of the vaccine trials weeks ago. After much consideration, she signed up to participate in the second phase.

“At my age, there could be risks and complications if I’m infected. As such, I want to take active care of my health and joined this phase of vaccine trials,” she said, adding she would recommend her neighbors as well.

Another 52-year-old man in Long An said he had “absolute trust” in the Vietnamese Covid-19 vaccine. He had arrived at the injection site at 7 a.m. for his shot.

“I’m not worried at all; instead I feel happy and proud to contribute to our medical field,” he said.

A total 560 people in Hanoi and Long An would be involved in the second phase of the Nanocovax human trials, in collaboration with Vietnam Military Medical University and HCMC Pasteur Institute. Nearly 200 people in Hanoi had been screened as vaccine trial volunteers Wednesday and Thursday, with 100 more screened Friday.

The first phase, which commenced last December with 60 volunteers, revealed Nanocovax to be safe, immunogenic and causing no severe side effects, said Do Quyet, director of Vietnam Military Medical University. Preliminary results also showed antibodies produced by Nanocovax had an effect on a coronavirus variant originating from the U.K., which is up to 70 percent more transmissible than ordinary strains, he added.

The second phase would allow researchers to see how exactly immunogenic Nanocovax is. Volunteers for the second phase could now include those aged 65 and above, along with those with underlying, non-severe conditions like hypertension and diabetes, according to the National Research Ethics Committee.

Preliminary results for the second phase should be expected within May, said Quyet. Afterwards, the Ethics Committee and the Ministry of Health would determine the most optimal doses for the third phase.

“If everything goes well, preparations for the third phase could begin by May. In this phase, the number of volunteers could reach between 10,000-15,000,” said Quyet.

As of Wednesday, Vietnam has recorded 2,421 Covid-19 cases, with 578 still active.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/vietnam-enters-second-phase-of-covid-19-vaccine-trials-4240748.html

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Ministry asked to approve US, Russian COVID-19 vaccines

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Vaccination will start in early March, and 1.2 million more doses may be added to the programme in late March.

The Advisory Council for the Registration of Circulation of Drugs and Medicinal Ingredients under the Ministry of Health (MoH) has proposed that the Health Ministry approve the use of COVID-19 vaccines produced by Moderna Company of the US and JSC Generium Company of Russia, for urgent use in Vietnam.

Previously, in early February, the MoH officially approved the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine of the UK.

The first vaccine batch, comprising 117,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, arrived in Vietnam on February 24. The first to receive vaccine shots will be priority groups, including health workers, forces participating in COVID-19 prevention and control activities; diplomats, customs and immigration officers; army and police forces; teachers; people over 65 years old; those providing essential services in the fields of aviation, transportation, tourism, electricity and water services; people with chronic diseases; those wishing to go to work and study abroad; and residents in pandemic-hit areas in line with epidemiological indications.

Vaccination will start in early March, and 1.2 million more doses may be added to the programme in late March.

Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said the ministry will secure 90 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from different sources in 2021.

The MoH is making every effort to carry out the vaccination drive, which is the biggest ever in the country, towards ensuring the schedule and coverage of the programme, Long stressed.

Regarding domestic production of vaccine, the minister said all relevant stages are going as schedule.

Vietnam expects to produce vaccines by 2022, he added./.VNA

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/society/ministry-asked-to-approve-us-russian-covid-19-vaccines-715836.html

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