Minister urges tightening of COVID-19 measures hinh anh 1Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long speaks at the meeting (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long on November 13 called for COVID-19 prevention and control measures to be tightened, as many people in the community have dropped their guard.

At a meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Hanoi on November 13, the Ministry of Health (MoH) noted that the world had recorded nearly 52.5 million COVID-19 cases as of November 13, including 1.3 million deaths, in 219 countries and territories.

There were 6.5 million new infections and 95,000 fatalities in the first two weeks of November alone, including some days of 500,000 to 600,000 new cases and 10,000 fatalities.

Europe is currently the epicentre of the pandemic, where it is spreading quickly. Some countries in Southeast Asia have also posted sharp rises in new case numbers, such as Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

In Vietnam, the number of cases stands at 1,253, including 596 imported cases. It has now been free of community transmission for 72 consecutive days.

The MoH said, however, that the risk of transmission remains, especially as international flights are set to increase and the winter and spring provide conditions favourable for infectious diseases.

In calling for tightened anti-COVID-19 measures, the minister also urged greater resolve and that all forces be engaged in the task more strongly.

He added that it is impossible to guarantee there will be no local infections in the time ahead, so ministries, sectors, and localities must update their COVID-19 planning scenarios and gear up for the winter.

The MoH is boosting negotiations with foreign vaccine suppliers while stepping up domestic development and production, he said, stressing that the country should not rely only on vaccines and must remain vigilant and increase its anti-pandemic efforts.

Experts at the meeting also called for the acceleration of vaccine development and production and the strict management of people's entry into Vietnam.

With vigilance slipping, the committee decided to organise COVID-19 prevention and control exercises and to continue sending inspection teams to ports of entry and accommodation facilities for the foreseeable future./.