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PM urges stronger efforts against nCoV

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has emphasised the need to reduce mass gatherings as Vietnam is ramping up efforts to cope with the threat of the novel coronavirus (nCoV).

In recently-issued Notice No. 156/CD-TTg on intensifying the prevention and control of the virus, the Government leader asked nCoV-affected provinces to stop all festivals, even ongoing ones, and close schools.

The notice was sent to relevant ministries and People’s Committees of centrally-run cities and provinces, after the declaration of the acute respiratory disease caused by 2019-nCoV an epidemic in Vietnam on February 1 by the PM.

In the notice, PM Phuc required the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work with competent Chinese agencies on countermeasures and the repatriation of Vietnamese citizens in China via the international border gates of Huu Nghi in Lang Son province, Lao Cai in the namesake province, Mong Cai in Quang Ninh province, Tay Trang in Dien Bien province and Thanh Thuy in Ha Giang province.

The ministry is also asked to coordinate with the Ministries of National Defence and Public Security to facilitate the repatriation of Chinese nationals.

The Ministry of National Defence is instructed to join hands with concerned ministries and border provinces to closely monitor the exit and entry of passengers at border gates.

The Health Ministry needs to coordinate with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, National Defence and Public Security, and relevant provincial People’s Committees to quarantine Vietnamese returning from China for 14 days, the PM said.

Other tasks include stepping up nCoV prevention drills and preparing necessary medical equipment and medicines.

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs was assigned to review the number of Vietnamese labourers in China, and report it to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, National Defene, Public Security and Health, and localities in order to chart plans in case the labourers need to be repatriated, while guiding localities and businesses that employ Chinese labourers to take countermeasures.

Medical stores that hike up prices of health equipment and those who spread false information about the epidemic must be strictly punished, including legal proceedings if necessary, in line with the law. 

PM Phuc asked localities to instruct people to wear face masks at public areas and on transport means and disinfect community places, especially schools, markets, supermarkets, coach and railway stations, and apartment buildings.