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Vietnam ready for a ‘new normal’ state

by NDO16 May 2020 Last updated at 19:00 PM

A doctor examines a patient undergoing treatment at the Hanoi-based National Hospital of Tropical Diseases.
A doctor examines a patient undergoing treatment at the Hanoi-based National Hospital of Tropical Diseases.

VTV.vn - For almost a full month, Vietnam has not recorded any new COVID-19 cases in the community, with the risk of infection now at a very low level.

However, the epidemic is still complicated around the world, requiring Vietnam to have appropriate and effective responsive solutions to be ready for a ‘new normal’ state.

According to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Health, since the first COVID-19 infection case was detected in Vietnam (January 23), the nation’s total count now stands at 314 positive cases of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. So far, 260 COVID-19 patients in Vietnam have been given the all-clear. Among the 54 patients still receiving treatment, three have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, and 10 have tested negative at least twice.

Of the three most severely ill patients, one has been announced as recovered, while another is recovering miraculously with her health progressing better thanks to the efforts of doctors and the expertise and support of medical experts in consultation and treatment. The third and most critically ill patient is receiving full support with the best medical equipment, medicines and human resources in Vietnam working to save him.

Up until now, it can be said that Vietnam has basically controlled and repelled the COVID-19 epidemic, ensuring the safety of life, people's health and social security. These results have been recognised and highly praised by the international community. Notably, from April 16 until now, the country has gone almost 30 days without any infection in the community, a positive signal for the Prime Minister to adjust social policies to adapt to a ‘new normal’ state, which features both disease prevention and control combined with boosting socio-economic development.

Dr Kidong Park, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Vietnam, assessed that the country’s prevention and control measures are very fast and effective, from transparent and timely capturing and sharing information to the application of effective information technology in epidemic prevention and control. The WHO Chief Representative in Vietnam also said that he would analyse and synthesise the lessons and experiences learnt from the COVID-19 prevention and control in Vietnam to share with the international community.

Although the risk of COVID-19 infection in the community is already very low, international experts believe that the situation in the world is still complicated and the epidemic is forecast to last for months, or even one to two years. Moreover, while there is no specific medicine nor preventive vaccine, Vietnam is always in a very alert position because the risk of infection still exists.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long informed that Vietnam continues to implement strict management policies for entry from abroad to prevent infection sources from outside, while at the same time focusing on zoning, early detection, isolation, and stamping out any new infections from within. Anti-epidemic forces such as healthcare, the army and the police are not allowed to rest as they must always be in a ready state. The core concept in the prevention of imported infection cases now is: do not allow entry for tourists, isolate all cases of entry at concentrated insolation camps, and take specimens as prescribed.

The domestic monitoring and prevention activities in the country will also be strengthened to timely detect and handle any cases arise to prevent the spread of disease in the community. Monitoring activities are implemented for all risk groups, such as people with cold, flu, cough and fever symptoms at health facilities; places with a large number of workers; and areas at risk of epidemiology.

The Ministry of Health also proposed localities to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation in the community and health facilities to timely detect any new cases and take samples for testing and organise quarantine according to regulations, as well as zoning and thoroughly treating outbreaks, in addition to carrying out surveillance for COVID-19 in key areas across all regions in the country.

The testing plan for detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the new situation is being boosted under the direction of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, combined with consolidating and maintaining mobile teams to be ready to investigate, localise and thoroughly handle outbreaks, while continuing to provide information and mobilise the community to implement hygiene and preventive measures for themselves, their families and the community.

Although the risk of epidemic transmission in the community has decreased, the National Steering Committee still recommends that the public continue to wear face masks on public transport vehicles, in public places and outside of schools and offices. Public offices, factories, supermarkets, hospitals, wet markets, public transport and shops are suggested to continue to take preventive measures. People have been warned to not be subjective and should follow measures to maintain personal hygiene and avoid crowded places to prevent the risk of infection.

Regarding the announcement of an end to the COVID-19 epidemic in Vietnam, Deputy Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said that his ministry would propose that the Prime Minister not call an end to the epidemic at the present time. Although no new cases have been recorded in the community, imported infections from entry from abroad have been detected. In addition, as the disease continues to occur in most countries around the world, along with the continuing of flights to repatriate Vietnamese citizens and welcome hi-tech experts to Vietnam, it is possible that more imported infections could be recorded in the near future, thus increasing the risk of infection in the community. In addition, the announcement of the end to the epidemic may cause a neglect within the community, leading to not fully implementing hygiene and disease preventive measures, and making it difficult for the authorities to mobilise support and sources for the disease prevention and control work.

The National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control suggested that the public continue to effectively carry out the following five measures: minimising going out and only going out when really necessary; always wearing face masks when going out is necessary, while keeping safe distance from others, preferably 2 m; washing hands with soap or antiseptic solution often; regularly cleaning houses and surfaces and practicing healthy living; making medical declarations, updating daily health situation, and keeping regular contact with health workers and health facilities.

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