Vietnam successfully isolates new coronavirus

Friday, 2020-02-07 15:12:59
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Vietnam has successfully isolated the 2019-nCoV, paving the way for developing a vaccine against the deadly virus in the near future.
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NDO – The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology has successfully cultivated and isolated the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in a laboratory, paving the way for developing a vaccine against the deadly virus that has already claimed the lives of 639 people worldwide.

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Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long announced the good news during a meeting of the National Steering Committee for the nCoV-caused disease prevention and control in Hanoi on February 7.

According to Long, with the latest achievement, Vietnam is able to test thousands of samples a day when necessary, noting that it will be a prerequisite for developing a vaccine against the virus in the near future.

At present, the country still has enough materials for 2019-nCoV tests, the health official added.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long speaks at the meeting of the national steering committee for the nCoV-caused disease prevention and control in Hanoi on February 7. (Photo VGP)

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Le Thi Quynh Mai, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, also confirmed the good news on the same day, adding that this will enable quicker tests for the virus.

Vietnam reported two more 2019-nCoV cases on February 6, bringing the total number of infected patients in the country to 12, of which seven are from the northern province of Vinh Phuc. Among them, three have completely recovered and were discharged from hospital. The health situation of the remaining cases is also steadily improving.

More than 1,000 people returning from China and nearly 500 others who were in close contact with infected patients are being quarantined and monitored and are waiting for test results.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) is also considering organising treatment for infection cases at the district level medical facilities. The ministry once again affirmed that Vietnam's health sector is capable of coping with the epidemic.

* Meanwhile, Assoc. Prof., Dr. Tran Dac Phu, former Director of the MoH’s Preventive Medicine Department, emphasised that Vietnam is in the “golden stage” of preventing and controlling nCoV, as the country is implementing an important measure to control epidemics, which involves limiting and isolating people returning to Vietnam from the affected areas. The measure has proved effective as it helped Vietnam become the first country in the world that successful controlled the SARS epidemic in 2003.

* In the face of the extremely complicated nCoV situation, more localities have decided to allow students to leave school. On Thursday afternoon, Minister of Education and Training, Phung Xuan Nha, chaired a meeting of his ministry’s Steering Committee for nCoV disease prevention and control, in which they proposed local authorities based on the actual situation to extend the leaving period for students for one more week.

Spraying disinfectant chemicals in a school to prevent nCoV infection. (Photo: NDO)

The ministry has guided localities to implement measures to compensate for the time of students’ absence due to epidemics, while suggesting schools to disinfect their local facilities.

As of February 6, a total of 309 Vietnamese overseas students and family members in China have kept in contact with the Vietnamese Embassy in China. They are living in 20 provinces and cities of China, with 26 in Wuhan, the centre of the nCoV epidemic. Currently, these Vietnamese students are healthy, without any cases of infection or suspected nCoV infection.

* Starting from Friday morning (February 7), Hai Phong City welcomes 311 people at risk of nCoV infection in the area to be isolated at an Viet Tiep Friendship Hospital’s second base in An Dong Commune, An Duong District. They returned to Hai Phong on February 2 from areas where the nCoV epidemic occurring. The duration of their medical isolation is 14 days from the date of entry into Vietnam.

Medical staff preparing to receive suspected cases of nCoV infected patients in a medical isolation area at Viet Tiep Hospital in Hai Phong. (Photo: NDO)

* Long An Province are isolating 11 Chinese nationals in Duc Hoa Ha Commune, Duc Hoa District. They are from Wuhan and returned to work in Long An industrial parks after the Lunar New Year holiday.

* On Friday afternoon, the Department of Health of Dak Lak Province announced that a notice from the Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute showed nCoV negative test results for samples of four isolated cases under surveillance in the province. They have been released from hospital after being confirmed negative for nCoV.

Up to now, Dak Lak has not recorded any cases of the nCoV infection. By this afternoon, of the 11 cases of isolation due to suspected nCoV infection in Dak Lak, six were discharged. Currently, Dak Lak has five isolation cases who are waiting for their test results.

* On February 7, Ho Chi Minh City Youth Union visited and encouraged the medical staff at Cho Ray Hospital, who successfully cured one among the first two nCoV infection cases detected in Vietnam.

One day earlier, the Ho Chi Minh City Border Guards sprayed disinfectants at its border-gate agencies and units in to prevent nCoV infection. In addition, it also provided free medical masks for tourists and crew members visiting the city, while establishing a mobile epidemic control team and fully preparing facilities serving the prevention, isolation and treatment of nCoV suspected cases.

The same day, Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade also proposed a solution to consume dragon fruits for Long An Province’s farmers who are affected by the nCoV spread in China. Accordingly, the unit will encourage distribution systems in the city to increase purchasing fresh and processed dragon fruit from Long An.

* From February 4, the authorities in Lao Cai Province received Vietnamese citizens returning home from China. As of February 6, 165 Vietnamese received health isolation at Lao Cai Military School, located 19 km from Lao Cai City, following a procedure from the MoH to prevent dangerous epidemic diseases from spreading throughout the community.

Processing food to serve people in medical isolated areas in Lao Cai. (Photo: NDO)

* Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has agreed to restore export and import activities at border gates with China but quarantine rules must be rigorously obeyed, according to an announcement of the Government Office.

The announcement, which informed the PM’s conclusions at the meeting of the Government’s standing board earlier this week, also said the PM agreed to license charter flights carrying Chinese citizens in Vietnam back home with the return flights required to be without any passengers onboard.

Cross-border cargo railway services and cargo flights from/to China were also permitted but they must strictly follow firm rules on preventing the spread of the new coronavirus, called nCoV, which is ravaging the region.

The announcement also notes that the Ministry of Health was asked to envision different scenarios for countering the virus and be well-prepared for any medical emergency.

* On February 7, the Central Committee of the Vietnam Red Cross Society organised a ceremony to launch its communications campaign on nCoV prevention. At the launch, the society offered 10,000 free medical masks, 1,000 bottles of antiseptic hand sanitiser and 10,000 leaflets providing information on measures to prevent and control diseases for locals across Hanoi. The association also organised demonstrations on how to use medical masks and how to wash hands with proper disinfectant soap.