Risks of new COVID-19 outbreaks still exist: Health Ministry hinh anh 1A health worker of the General Hospital of Lai Chau province checks visitors’ body temperature at the gate of the hospital (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Health experts predicted that Vietnam is likely to record new cases of COVID-19 community transmission as pathogens have spread, which can lead to a new outbreak if people lack of vigilance, Acting Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long noted.

As the pandemic’s developments remain complicated around the world, Vietnam is facing risks from both inside and outside, requiring more drastic and long-term efforts, he said at an online meeting with central hospitals and provincial-level health departments nationwide on August 27.

Persisting in quarantine of F1 contacts

Analysing the current COVID-19 situation in Vietnam, Prof. Long said if drastic and swift actions are not taken, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, will spread faster than authorities’ response. Therefore, affected areas must be swiftly sealed off, those with close contact with confirmed cases traced quickly, and quarantine carried out thoroughly to eradicate the pathogens in the community as fast as possible.

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Besides, the health sector needs to persist in quarantining those who directly contact with index cases (called F1) so as to prevent transmission, and localities must also carry out this seriously, he added.

According to the official, Vietnam has so far been proactive and active in preventing and containing the coronavirus disease. Thanks to substantial efforts by both central and local authorities, the latest outbreak has been basically brought under control in some clusters like Hai Duong, Quang Nam, and Da Nang.

The fight against COVID-19 will be more difficult for the health sector this time as the country has to concurrently curb the pandemic and develop its economy, thus the sector has to double or even triple efforts in the COVID-19 combat, Long said.

Reviewing implementation of anti-pandemic regulations

At the online meeting, the acting minister requested that localities learn lessons from Da Nang, Hai Duong, and Hanoi and increase examination and supervision of the pandemic prevention and control.

Risks of new COVID-19 outbreaks still exist: Health Ministry hinh anh 2The online meeting with health authorities of provinces and cities (Photo: VietnamPlus)

The Ministry of Health has issued a number of professional guidelines, more than 50 so far, and asked provincial-level health departments to report to local administrations to carry out the guidelines and monitor implementation, Long noted.

He also voiced the ministry’s concern that the pandemic will become even more complex in winter and spring, when cold and humid weather conditions may facilitate the spread of the virus.

The official told agencies and localities to stay ready to deal with any circumstances such as there are hundreds of infections in a same area at the same time or there are outbreaks in industrial parks or hospitals.

Local authorities must immediately review their response plans and always act as if there are infections in their localities so as to take proactive actions in all cases and swiftly prevent large-scale transmission, he demanded.

Long also ordered quarantine regulations be serious adhered to and persons waiting for results of second tests not be allowed to leave concentrated quarantine sites.

Meanwhile, those already leaving quarantine facilities must have their health monitored at home for another 14 days, and localities must comply with regulations on the management and monitoring of foreign entrepreneurs and experts entering the country.

At the meeting, he also asked for continued enhancement of PCR testing capacity, noting that the Health Ministry has assigned the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology to quickly provide training in conducting ELISA tests for localities as Vietnam has managed to produce ELISA test kits with relatively high sensitivity.

To protect medical establishments amid the COVID-19 fight, the acting minister also requested localities to boost training of its staff and examination of health care establishments to ensure their compliance with anti-pandemic regulations.

Regarding some Vietnamese testing negative for SARS-CoV-2 in the country but positive when entering other nations, the Ministry of Health has assigned its General Department of Preventive Medicine to liaise with other countries’ health agencies to seek more information.

However, Long added, domestic agencies need to immediately carry out prevention measures, including quarantining close contacts with those people, to prevent the transmission of the virus./.