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Vietnam officially enters 2nd phase of COVID-19 fight: Deputy PM

Vietnam has officially entered the second phase of the fight against COVID-19 since the 17th case was detected two days ago, and this phase is even more difficult than the first one, but the country is ready to respond to any circumstance, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said on March 8.

As of 7:30pm of March 8, Vietnam had recorded 30 COVID-19 cases, including 16 already fully recovering.

The nine latest cases confirmed on the day are foreigners, including four cases recorded in Quang Ninh province, two in Lao Cai province, two in Da Nang city, and one in Thua Thien-Hue province.

All boarded flight VN0054, the same flight the 17th patient in the country (also the first in Hanoi) was on, from London to Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport on March 2 morning. They have been quarantined, and their health is in stable condition.

At the meeting of the national steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control in Hanoi, Deputy PM Dam said the second phase of the outbreak combat is more challenging than the first one since the disease has spread to more than 100 countries, which means Vietnam has to prevent it from entering the country from over 100 directions, instead of several directions like in the recent past.

Besides, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has already appeared in the country. If the anti-outbreak work is not done well, the country will be “beaten from both inside out and outside in”, he noted.

However, all situations are anticipated, and response plans have been prepared to cope with any circumstance, even when there are thousands of infection cases, he said, adding that it will not be surprising if tens or hundreds of cases are reported in the next few days.

Dam said the most important thing is to persist in complying with the principle of preventing the spread, detecting infections, quarantining infected and suspected cases, sealing off affected areas and suppressing the outbreak.

When the virus has entered Vietnam, early detection to prevent the spread is of critical importance, according to Dam.

The Deputy PM requested sectors and authorities at all levels to promote their sense of responsibility to strictly adhere to relevant directions given by the Party Central Committee’s Secretary, the Government and the national steering committee.

He urged competent agencies to recommend Vietnamese not go abroad or to the countries with COVID-19 cases. People should only do so if really necessary and they must equip themselves with sufficient knowledge to ensure their health’s safety.

The national steering committee agreed to propose the Government suspend the unilateral visa exemption for citizens of the EU nations, the UK, and non-EU countries that have had over 500 infection cases or record over 50 new cases in a day. The committee also proposed the denial of visa for foreigners who show COVID-19 symptoms or have related epidemiological factors.

Vietnam has applied compulsory health declaration to all people entering the country, but that is not enough, Deputy PM Dam said, adding that all Vietnamese people also need to declare their health status as this is a common responsibility and also a concrete action to join efforts against the outbreak.

He asked the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Health, the Vietnam Social Security, and IT service providers to promptly complete technological tools so that health declaration will be applied to all people nationwide on March 10 morning at the latest.

If the whole people are unanimous, the country will definitely win against the COVID-19 outbreak, the official affirmed./