Vietnam has intensified its fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), taking a new approach in the isolation process given the rising number of patients and those having close contact with them, the health ministry has said.
During an online meeting on Sunday, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long highlighted some changes that will be applied to Vietnam’s anti-epidemic efforts.
Mass isolation will be scaled down significantly, meaning that only households in the immediate vicinity of a COVID-19 patient will need to be quarantined.
Previously, there have been instances in Vietnam where an entire street or neighborhood was sealed off after one person residing there tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Similarly, the Hanoi administration has asked relevant agencies to only send people who have direct contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient, referred to as F1 cases, to a quarantine camp.
Those who have direct contact with F1 people, also known as F2 cases, will be quarantined at home.
Both F1 and F2 individuals previously had to be sent to a quarantine camp for 14 days.
Experts believe that the new approach is appropriate for the current situation in Vietnam, as the number of confirmed cases and people having contact with them have been increasing rapidly in the past week, placing pressure on quarantine facilities in the country.
Vietnamese authorities on Sunday announced that national carrier Vietnam Airlines had been permitted to transport overseas students and laborers, as well as foreigners holding official passports issued by any of the 26 Schengen countries or the UK, to Vietnam, after the country previously decided to deny entry to visitors from these nations.
According to Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen, the number of such arrivals is expected to be very high in the coming days.
Tuyen has asked relevant ministries to test all passengers arriving from COVID-19-hit areas at local airports. They will be sent to quarantine areas for 14 days regardless of the result.
Authorities in Hanoi said that the tests would be free-of-charge.
The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 169,300 people and killed more than 6,500 globally, according to Ministry of Health statistics.
Vietnam has so far confirmed 57 cases of coronavirus infections, with 16 having fully recovered and been discharged from the hospital by February 26.
Forty-one cases have been reported in the Southeast Asian country since March 6 after Vietnam had gone three weeks without any new infection.