Deputy PM: Risk of COVID-19 transmission in community still quite high hinh anh 1Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam at the meeting (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said on April 24 that people should be happy with the current situation surrounding COVID-19 but insisted that the risk of transmission in the community is still quite high despite Vietnam’s great efforts to date.

The National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control reported that Vietnam has not recorded any new cases since April 17 and 225 out of 268 patients infected have now been given the all-clear. 

The three most severe cases - 20, 91 and 161 - have shown improvements over recent days. Twenty-one patients have tested negative for the coronavirus at least once, with nine testing negative at least twice.

At a meeting of the committee on April 24, Tran Dac Phu, a senior adviser to Vietnam’s public health emergency operations centre, said that in the initial phase the country succeeded in preventing the disease entering the country from elsewhere. The second phase began when community transmission was found, and the Prime Minister decided to introduce social distancing in a timely and strict manner, which prevented COVID-19 from breaking out on a large scale.

Social distancing alone, however, cannot stop the pandemic or community transmission, since it only minimises contact between people and limits the spread, he said.

Citing the results of a study on 245 of the 268 COVID-19 cases in Vietnam, Phu said that more than 40 percent did not exhibit any symptoms while others only had a cough or a fever. Many tested negative for the virus but then positive at a later date, which has also been seen in other countries.

He said it is difficult to identify cases of infection in the community as some do not exhibit symptoms or only exhibit common symptoms such as a fever or a cough. These people will remain unknown if they do not visit hospital for a check-up, and if they have close contact with others the coronavirus will continue to spread.

With social distancing measures now eased, COVID-19 may still spread in the community, he said, adding that there could be new infections in the time ahead and large outbreaks must be prevented. 

Ministries, sectors, and localities should take appropriate action to develop the economy and ensure social security, Phu recommended.

Deputy PM Dam, who is also head of the national steering committee, told the meeting of the need for continued vigilance because while Vietnam’s level of control over the pandemic is good news, there are more than 50,000 new infections and 5,000 deaths around the world every day, and the disease has broken out again in many places previously thought to have controlled it thoroughly.

He quoted experts as saying risks remain high all around the world and there are still people with the virus in the community.

“We can be happy about the outcome to date and have trust in our leadership, but we should not forget that we have only won individual battles, not the whole fight,” he said, while calling on people to continue complying with the PM’s directions and the health sector’s guidance./.