Health Minister requests faster testing of COVID-19 hinh anh 1Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long (standing) speaks at the meeting on COVID-19 prevention and control on November 24 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long on November 24 urged testing for COVID-19 to be accelerated, warning about very high risks of coronavirus transmissions from other countries as the pandemic situation remains tense around the world.

Addressing a teleconference on COVID-19 prevention and control, Long said Vietnam has stayed free of community transmissions of the disease for 83 straight days.

However, it has still seen imported cases boarding flights from foreign destinations. Meanwhile, although the Ministry of Health (MoH) has issued a number of guidelines for quarantine sites, the lack of vigilance remains at several establishments, especially hotels and other civil accommodation facilities, he pointed out.

Long underlined local authorities’ role in ensuring strict management of quarantine sites, asking them to gear up for the possible appearance of COVID-19 cases in the community.

Noting transmission risks at medical establishments, the minister said some hospitals, especially private ones, are still off guard.

Long said the MoH has continually requested testing be increased, but the number of tested samples is only about 4,000 per day, which has almost doubled the figure in July but is still very low compared to the number of people with flu and pneumonia symptoms.

If the testing speed is not increased, COVID-19 infections could be missed, he noted, adding that the faster tests are conducted, the sooner new cases are detected and the transmission is curbed.

The minister also emphasised the need to monitor imported food, noting that the MoH has ordered that frozen food shipped from pandemic-hit countries must undergo COVID-19 testing since the coronavirus can survive for a long time.

At the meeting, he also warned about transmission risks posed by illegal entries, adding that 77 people had been caught while trying to illegally enter Vietnam on November 23 alone.

Giving more details, Maj. Gen. Nguyen Duc Manh, Deputy Commander of the Border Guards, said since the year’s beginning, the force has kept guarding on more than 6,000 border paths and crossings and handled entry procedures for over 2.7 million people, during which it has recorded more than 20,000 cases of illegal entry.

The COVID-19 tally in Vietnam currently stands at 1,316, including 691 locally infected cases. As many as 1,153 patients have recovered from the disease while the fatalities are maintained at 35./.