Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has signed an urgent dispatch, ordering his cabinet and local governments to take measures to fight acute respiratory infections caused by a new coronavirus strain, including the intensification of screening at border gates, in order to stop it spreading to Vietnam.
The Southeast Asian country has just reported two suspected cases hospitalized in Hanoi, one of whom returned from Wuhan, China, which is the core of the coronavirus outbreak.
The prime minister directs that the Ministry of Health coordinate work to strictly screen those people entering Vietnam through land border gates, waterway border gates, and airports in order to detect any suspicious case, according to the Vietname Government Portal.
Any suspected infection has to be put in quarantine and the ministry is rquired to be well prepared for any likely outbreak.
Relevant ministries are required to cooperate with the health ministry in warning Vietnamese citizens against visiting the affected areas if unnecessary.
Local governments have to provide enough medicines and other medical supplies to fight the disease outbreak, if any.
China is locking down Wuhan, a city of 11 million people and the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, which has killed 17 people and infected almost 600 others in the country.
There is no known cure for the virus nor any vaccine against it.
Symptoms include fever, difficulty in breathing and cough, similar to many other respiratory illnesses, and can cause pneumonia.
The disease can spread from humans to humans via close contact or saliva.
There are eight other known cases around the world - Thailand has confirmed four cases, while the United States, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan have each reported one, according to Reuters.
Two patients have been hospitalized in Hanoi over fever symptoms.
One is L.P.T., 20, a Vietnamese student studying in Wuhan and having just come back to Hanoi for eight days.
The other, 55, is a trader at a market along the Vietnam-China border. He has suffered a high fever for five days for no clear cause.