PM calls for strong local COVID-19 response

Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, and other major cities where COVID-19 cases have been confirmed should take strong measures to effectively prevent the spread of the pandemic within the community, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on February 8.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the meeting.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the meeting.

Such measures include social distancing in line with the PM’s Directives No 15 and 16 in case of a worsening situation, the PM said at an online meeting of permanent Cabinet members.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) pointed out the high risk of the pandemic spreading as there remain sources of infections yet to be detected in major cities, especially in baggage and cargo handling services at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

It reported that all 7,300 employees at the airport have been tested and five of them were positive for the coronavirus. Twenty-four related cases were also found later.

The pandemic has been basically contained in the northern provinces of Quang Ninh and Hai Duong, where the first cases in the latest outbreak were recorded, and most other cities and provinces, the ministry said.

PM Phuc asked Ho Chi Minh City and the ministry to play a more active role in the fight and encourage people to follow COVID-19 prevention and control measures, including wearing facemasks and avoiding mass gatherings.

Travel during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday should be limited, he said, urging localities to prepare resources, including medical supplies, food, and COVID-19 hospitals in case the situation worsens.

Hai Duong, Quang Ninh, Gia Lai, and Hai Phong will continue with proposed plans, while Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City need to identify their own way forward in this regard, according to the leader.

Social distancing should be imposed when necessary, he said, ordering stronger alertness among medical and political systems and the public, as well as an active role from the media in the fight.

The PM agreed with the ministry’s proposal to buy COVID-19 vaccine produced by the AstraZeneca Group and begin injections in the first quarter.

The MoH and its minister are responsible for selecting partners, vaccines, and those to be vaccinated, with funding coming from the State, he said.

He also asked relevant forces, most notably the police, army, and market management forces, to step up measures to ensure security and order.