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National steering committee: Vietnam must remain vigilant in COVID-19 fight

The spread of COVID-19 may have slowed in Vietnam but the country must remain on alert since it is still too early to confirm that the pandemic has been contained, heard a meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Hanoi on April 8.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) reported at the meeting that, as at April 8, Vietnam had 251 people tested positive for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, of whom 126 have fully recovered.

Luong Ngoc Khue, Director of the MoH’s Department of Medical Examination and Treatment Management, said it is encouraging that the number of newly-confirmed cases each day is now lower than the number of those given the all-clear. Those who have made full recovery now account for more than half of all cases.

Patients are treated according to an MoH regimen and piloted ones based on other countries’ experience, he said, noting that the ministry is working to perfect the regimen so as to minimise severe cases and fatalities.

Participants shared the view that although Vietnam has introduced strong measures, COVID-19 continues to spread in the community, as before midnight on March 22, when the entry of foreigners into the country was suspended, hundreds of thousands of people, including many from coronavirus-hit nations, had already entered Vietnam.

Of the 251 COVID-19 cases identified so far, 156, or 62.6 percent, stemmed from other countries.

Social distancing is being practiced nationwide under Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s Directive No. 16/TC-TTg, so transmission has slowed, but it is still early to say that the pandemic has been contained, according to Tran Dac Phu, an adviser to Vietnam’s public health emergency operations center.

The country must continue measures such as quarantining, testing people having contact or links with confirmed cases, practicing social distancing, and detecting small hotspots early to prevent them from becoming larger.

Other participants at the meeting said Vietnam has managed to control the pandemic but there will likely be many more cases. Therefore, aside from identifying sources of infection, it is necessary to consider each COVID-19 case as a hotspot and respond swiftly./