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Two weeks to act: PM calls for stronger action in battle against COVID-19

Friday, March 27, 2020, 17:02 GMT+7
Two weeks to act: PM calls for stronger action in battle against COVID-19
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at a government meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 26, 2020. Photo: Vietnam Government Portal

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is calling on all Vietnaemse citizens and residents to step up measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) over the next fourteen days.

“We only have two weeks to act. Everyone in the country needs to join hands to fight COVID-19,” PM Phuc remarked at a government meeting on Thursday, adding that the rate of infection will rapidly increase if no assertive efforts are taken to deal with the epidemic. 

Vietnam had confirmed 153 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday. Among them, 20 have been discharged from the hospital.

No deaths related to the disease have been recorded in the country.

In this regard, the Vietnamese head of government has signed a directive asking for “drastic implementation” of strong anti-epidemic measures as the country has entered the peak period of its COVID-19 prevention and control efforts.

“[Vietnam] accepts economic losses to prevent and control the epidemic [as] protecting the health and lives of citizens is the ultimate goal,” the directive reads.

“[We] must not let our guard down.”

The PM went on to list a number of steps that must be taken during this critical period to effectively curb the spread of COVID-19.

From 0:00 Saturday, March 28, until the end of April 15, provincial and municipal administrations are asked to enforce restrictions on mass gatherings.

Specifically, meetings or events that gather more than 20 people into the same room must be canceled, while gatherings of ten or more people outside of public offices, schools, and hospitals are prohibited.

Residents are asked to practice social distancing by keeping a distance of at least two meters from others in public areas.

Religious services and other activities that gather from 20 people at religious, faith, and worshipping establishments must be thoroughly halted. All cultural, sports, and entertainment activities taking place at public locations are ordered to be cancel.

Non-essential businesses and services are to temporarily cease operations during this period. The chairpeople of provinces and cities are in charge of deciding which businesses are closed and which can remain open.

Traveling between localities within Vietnam must be limited, especially those from COVID-19-hit areas to others.

People who have traveled from provinces and cities affected by the epidemic to other localities should be closely supervised, starting from March 28.

The Ministry of Transport is tasked with directing the limitation of flights and passenger transportation activities from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to other localities.

Public transportation, with the exception of cargo vehicles, should either be suspended or minimized to limit residents’ mobility and large gatherings.

All residents should stay home and only leave the house when absolutely necessary.

Local authorities are to be disciplined if large gatherings take place in their jurisdiction over the next two weeks, the PM stressed.

Border and social security

The PM called for border security to be tightened, and that anyone currently residing in Vietnam must comply with quarantine orders and regulations.

A review of all those who have entered Vietnam since March 8 are ongoing to evaluate their risks of carrying COVID-19 for appropriate quarantine measures.

All healthcare professionals working in areas with a high risk of infection must be tested for COVID-19.

Authorities in all provinces and cities, particularly in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, must invest in the necessary machines and equipment for large-scale testing.

The health sector, in coordination with the industry and trade sector, must ensure sufficient supply of face masks in the country and promote international cooperation to secure healthcare equipment.

The prohibition of hoarding and smuggling medical supplies must be enforced along with stern penalties for those who spread fake news and are untruthful in their health declarations.

Competent authorities must ensure social security and safety for all residents.

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