The health sector will take drastic measures to prevent disease and ensure food safety and access to healthcare during the lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said at a teleconference on February 5.

According to the minister, a measles outbreak is likely due to lower-than-expected vaccination rates, and several cases of whooping cough, influenza, and respiratory diseases are to be expected.

In January, the country recorded 28 measles cases in 13 localities and six whooping cough cases.

An increase in poultry smuggling across the border posed a high risk of avian flu A/H7N9 infections entering Vietnam from China, she said.

She asked hospitals to be prepared for diseases and major traffic accidents.

It is also essential for the health sector to take more drastic measures to increase the vaccination rate and intensify food safety inspections, added the official.

Head of the Food Safety Department Nguyen Thanh Long said that six inspection groups are set to carry out food safety inspections across 12 localities until to March 30, 2015.-VNA