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Drastic measures undertaken to prevent COVID-19 from entering Vietnam: Minister

Vietnam's healthcare sector has actively and drastically directed the southwestern region to strengthen measures to prevent COVID-19 amidst the complicated developments of the pandemic in regional countries and the world, said Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), the minister held that Vietnam is facing a high risk of another COVID-19 outbreak from the outside, as within the past 24 hours, India reported over 340,000 new cases, while Cambodia confirmed more than 600 cases and Laos also saw the highest-ever rise in the number of infections.

Long stressed the need for Vietnamese people to stay vigilant against the spread of the virus, while focusing on strictly implementing preventive measures with the hope of controlling the situation.

Recently, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control and the Health Ministry have warned of the risk of another outbreak in the country, advising people to take measures to prevent the pandemic from entering Vietnam from the outside, he said.

The minister said that a number scenarios have been built in case the pandemic occurs in localities, especially in the southwest region.

Meanwhile, five working groups led by the minister and four deputy health ministers have worked with southwestern provinces to direct pandemic preventive measures, he said.

Stressing that the most concerned risk is that new SARS-CoV-2 variants penetrate into Vietnam from Cambodia without any signs, he said that the ministry has asked the risky localities to pay special attention to the situation.

Localities in the southwestern region and those along the border with Cambodia have been guided to roll out preventive measures, especially the “5K message”, he said.

However, Long noted that controlling illegal entry into Vietnam through the sea border is a great challenge, especially in Kien Giang province where quarantine facilities in its Ha Tien city is becoming overloaded.

Therefore, a temporary hospital has been set up in Ha Tien to be ready to treat COVID-19 patients, he said.

Underlining the responsibility of local leaders in pandemic prevention and control, the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat has directed Party Committees at all levels to enhance their role in the work, he noted.

Regarding the health sector's preparations for the upcoming prolonged Liberation Day (April 30) and May Day (May 1) holidays, Long said that along with advising people to strictly implementing the 5K message, the ministry is speeding up COVID-19 vaccinations, while keeping a close watch on the implementation of preventive measures in each locality.

At the same time, tight control over entry activities has been carried out in border localities to prevent illegal immigrants, which requires the strong cooperation of all people, he said./