Increasing illegal border crossings fuel risk of COVID-19 transmission: Minister hinh anh 1A medical worker checks body temperature of people at a health checkpoint (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long warned on January 20 about the “very high” risk of COVID-19 transmission caused by the “extremely complicated” incidence of illegal border crossings as the Lunar New Year holiday (Tet) nears.

At a teleconference with all 63 cities and provinces nationwide, he pointed out the complex developments of the pandemic, adding that most countries and territories have witnessed an upwards trend in the number of infections, which will soon stand at 100 million worldwide.

Vietnam hasn’t recorded any community transmission of COVID-19 for a long period of time, Long said, but the risk remains “very high”.

As proposed by the Ministry of Health, the Prime Minister has demanded inbound flights be minimised to ensure a safe and happy Tet for all.

Noting the complexity of illegal border crossings despite more exhaustive border patrols by authorities, the minister said some countries in the region are still conducting commercial flights so many Vietnamese who are overseas have flown to these countries and attempted to reach Vietnam over land.

More than 100 illegal entries are discovered every day on average and as many as 500 on some days, he added, urging relevant agencies and police in border localities to take stronger action to identify and strictly deal with all cases.
Increasing illegal border crossings fuel risk of COVID-19 transmission: Minister hinh anh 2Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long speaks at the teleconference on January 20 (Photo: VNA)
Facing a surge of illegal entries ahead of Tet, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has ordered localities to call on residents to report anyone illegally entering the country or violating quarantine rules.

Long underlined the need to gear up for COVID-19 infections found in the community, asking for speedy zoning and quarantining of infections, if any, so as to eradicate the virus from the community as quickly as possible.

He also told healthcare facilities to be on the highest alert to prevent transmission within their walls.

In regard to the upcoming 13th National Party Congress, the minister said maximum disease prevention and control measures are in place for its safest possible organisation.

All samples collected from central-level delegates at the congress have tested negative, he added.

As of January 19, Vietnam had reported 1,540 COVID-19 cases, including 880 imported cases, with 35 fatalities.

There were 75 imported cases in the first 20 days of January, accounting for 8.4 percent of the total imported so far and up by 11 cases against the first 20 days of December./.