Updated on : Thứ Bẩy, 31/07/2021 - 3:08 CH
How Viet Nam has responded to fourth COVID-19 wave?
VGP – Viet Nam had gone 33 days before reporting the first community infection case of COVID-19 on April 27, marking the emergence of the fourth COVID-19 wave in the country.

The number of daily COVID-19 cases from April 27 to July 30

The first domestic patient over the period was a staff working at a hotel in the northern province of Yen Bai, which was designated as a quarantine site for Indian experts after arriving in Viet Nam.

On May 10, 2020, the country logged triple-digit domestic infections (125 cases) for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic on January 23, 2020. At that time, Ha Noi was the biggest COVID-19 hotspot with 99 cases, followed by the neighboring Bac Ninh province.

After just two weeks, the fourth wave spread to 26 cities and provinces with multiple outbreaks and multiple transmission sources ranging from quarantine sites, hospitals, flights, bar and karaoke parlors, weddings among others.

Local experts predicted there were four transmission sources from Da Nang, Yen Bai, Cancer Hospital and National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ha Noi, and Hai Duong.

They also discovered two new variants, namely B.1.1.7 and B.1.617.2, first identified in the UK and India, respectively.

On July 23, as many as 62 out of 63 cities and provinces nationwide reported community infection cases. Cao Bang is the only one left without being hit by the current wave.

As of 6:00 am on July 31, the total domestic infection cases confirmed since April 27 reached 137,317, including 88,285 cases in Ho Chi Minh City, making the southern metropolis the current epicenter of the fourth COVID-19 wave.

The number of daily community infection cases from April 27 to 6:00 am on July 31

How Viet Nam has responded?

The current surge in infections occurs in Viet Nam because the Delta variant spreads more easily than other variants and the early spread is silent and undetected because relatively few people get ill, according to Professor Guy Thwaites, Director of Ho Chi Minh City-based Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU).

Right on April 27, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, led by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, convened a meeting to evaluate the pandemic situation.

Speaking at the meeting, Vu warned of a “very high” risk of COVID-19 resurgence because many people began to relax on COVID-19 prevention measures, particularly mask wearing after the country had gone more than three months without a single locally transmitted case.

Meanwhile, illegal immigration still occurred and quarantine facilities, if not managed well, could be a source of transmissions, Vu stressed.

He ordered subordinate levels to continue implementation of preventive measures, strictly control border areas, and encourage people to report illegal entrants to competent authorities.

Vu also called on Vietnamese people living and working abroad to try to refrain from travels, stay on in the host countries, and abide by the host countries’ COVID-19 prevention measures.

High-risk localities, especially Southwestern provinces must strengthen testing capacity while ministries and agencies have to reassess the capacity of both State and civilian quarantine sites to ensure absolute safety and set up plans to expand quarantine capacity in case of infection spikes.

The Ministry of Health was urged to speed up COVID-19 vaccination progress, actively work to diversify sources of foreign vaccine supplies, and accelerate homegrown vaccine research, development and production

On May 30, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh convened an urgent meeting on COVID-19 response, during which he demanded subordinate levels make highest efforts in containing spread of COVID-19.

On May 2, Prime Minister Pham warned that we would pay "high price" for negligence, subjectivity, and lack of vigilance in the fight against COVID-19, thus he ordered subordinate levels to mobilize aggregate strength for the COVID-19 fight.

On May 5, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said mandatory quarantine period will be increased by one week to 21 days from 14 days, applicable to those who come in close contact with COVID-19 patients and those who enter Viet Nam.

The extension was part of the country’s efforts to prevent spread of COVID-19 as authorities had detected tens of local infections linked to both Vietnamese and foreigners who tested positive for COVID-19 after completing 14-day mandatory quarantine.

On May 9, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh inspected border control in An Giang province before convening an urgent meeting with leaders of six southern provinces of An Giang, Binh Phuoc, Dong Thap, Kien Giang, Long An, and Tay Ninh amid swift and complex evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the meeting, he urged these localities to continue tightening land and sea borders and stay prepared for quarantining a great number of entrants right at border areas.

One day later, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said “wearing face coverings is the easiest and most effective way” to help contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lessons learnt from the COVID-19 outbreaks in Da Nang and Vinh Phuc showed that the virus spread quickly in closed spaces like bars, karaoke and massage parlors, said Vu, adding that localities should suspend or strictly control such services before deciding on areas to be isolated.

On May 10, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh reiterated that stamping out COVID-19 outbreaks become the “central task and the top priority” while presiding over a meeting on COVID-19 response.

The Government chief urged the Ministry of Health to provide clear answers on how many doses of vaccines that Viet Nam could receive in the coming time, requesting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to proactively participate in seeking vaccine supply sources.

On May 15, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh demanded more proactive and active testing as the COVID-19 pandemic remained complicated in several localities.

According to Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen, Viet Nam had 175 laboratories capable of conducting 66,000 samples per day, using real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technology.

The daily capacity could be increased to 290,000 samples if necessary and 2.9 million samples in case of pool testing (which means combining respiratory samples from five or ten people in one laboratory test to detect SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19, Do said.

On May 18, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh reiterated that COVID-19 vaccine purchase is an urgent task to protect the public’s health.

He emphasized that this is an urgent situation, thus vaccine procurement must be handled in accordance with legal regulations on special and urgent circumstances and carried out immediately.

At that time, Viet Nam had received a total of 2,611,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses, including 2,493,600 doses shipped by the COVAX Facility.

On May 24, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said all factory laborers shall be required to make health declaration in a bid to help front liners contain the spread of COVID-19 while presiding over a meeting with leaders of Bac Giang and Bac Ninh – the two biggest COVID-19 hotspots at that time.

The same day, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh ordered subordinate levels to expeditiously work out a strategy for COVID-19 prevention at industrial parks.

The strategy aims to better control COVID-19 pandemic situation at industrial parks and ensure supply chain and business operation would not be disrupted, he added.

On May 26, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh ordered strict punishments for those who do not wear facemasks outdoors, especially in the two COVID-19 hotspots of Bac Giang and Bac Ninh, stressing that the top priority is to push back COVID-19 pandemic in the these two localities.

On May 27, the Ministry of Transport announced temporary suspension of international flights to the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City from May 27 to June 4 to prevent spread of the virus.

At the time, the southern metropolis was one of 30 cities and provinces being hit by the fourth wave of COVID-19 resurgence.

On May 31, Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee decided to impose 15-day social distancing in the entire city in accordance with the Government's Directive No. 15/CT-TTg, starting from May 31.

The same day, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said the goal to acquire 150 million COVID-19 vaccine doses this year is “feasible”.

On June 1, the Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam (CAAC) announced temporary suspension of international flights to Noi Bai International Airport in Ha Noi from June 1 to June 7.

On June 5, a ceremony was held on Saturday evening to mark the debut of a national COVID-19 vaccine fund.

The fund was established to mobilize social resources for the purchase and import of vaccines as well as for research, development and production of domestic vaccines.

On June 7, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh ordered immediate development of a national program on research, technology transfer and production of vaccines, especially COVID-19 vaccines in Viet Nam.

On June 9, Viet Nam asked Australia to use part of the latter’s AUD 40 million aid to purchase Pfizer vaccine for adolescents aged from 12-18.

On June 11, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said the Government would strive to inoculate vaccines to all workers at industrial parks across the nation by the end of this August.

Vu urged local authorities and businesses to roll up sleeves and work together to ensure safe production.

On June 12, the Ministry of Health just announced that it approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in Viet Nam.

On June 17, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam reiterated the Vietnamese Government’s resolve to speed up its national COVID-19 vaccination program in order to soon resume socio-economic activities and protect the public’s health.

On June 24, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh wanted Viet Nam to be able to produce COVID-19 vaccine no later than June next year.

He demanded the highest resolve in both vaccine research and transfer of production technology to realize the above goal as soon as possible.

Successful realization of the vaccine strategy is the top solution to prevent and push back the COVID-19 pandemic as Viet Nam, one of the most open economies in the world, is more likely vulnerable to the risk of COVID-19 importation.

Though technology transfer could not be done overnight while domestic vaccine research and development require sound scientific backgrounds but PM Pham still expressed his belief that Viet Nam has strong premises to translate the resolve into reality.

On June 29, the Government discussed on a draft resolution on measures to support employees and business owners with total funding of more than VND26 trillion (over US$1.13 billion).

In April last year, the Government issued Resolution No. 42/NQ-CP specifying measures to support those hit by COVID-19 with total funding of nearly VND62 trillion (US$2.69 billion).

On July 10, Viet Nam launched the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign with a goal to acquire 150 million doses for around 75 million people, or 70% of the country’s population.

On July 15, the Ministry of Health has decided to approve Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in Viet Nam, making it the sixth vaccine approved after the U.S.’s Moderna, Russia's Sputnik V and those made by the U.S.'s Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech, China's Sinopharm and British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca.

On July 17, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh agreed to allow 16 southern localities to impose 14-day social distancing rules in accordance with the Government’s Directive No. 16 to contain COVID-19.

These localities are: Can Tho, Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Tieng Giang, Long An, Vinh Long, Dong Thap, Ben Tre, Hau Giang, An Giang, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang, Tra Vinh, Ca Mau and Kien Giang.

One July 19, the first test batch of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus was successfully produced in Viet Nam, according to a joint statement of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and VABIOTECH, one of Viet Nam’s leading pharmaceutical companies. 

The first validation samples taken from the produced batch were shipped to the Gamaleya Center for the quality control.

The number of daily imported cases of COVID-19 from April 27 to 6:00 am on July 31

On July 23, Ho Chi Minh City Municipal Party Committee issued Directive No. 12 on tightening restrictions to curb spike in daily COVID-19 infections though the southern metropolis was placed under social distancing since May 31.

The same day, the Municipal People's Committee decided to extend the application of social distancing measures until August 1.

On July 23, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh requested ministries and agencies to pay special care for research and transfer of production technology so that COVID-19 vaccines could be produced in Viet Nam at the earliest.

He also tasked the Ministry of Health to establish a working group to coordinate with experts from the World Health Organization in evaluating COVID-19 vaccines to be produced in Viet Nam.

On July 28, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh called on citizens to stay strong and united and seriously comply with COVID-19 preventive measures in order to soon bring life to normal.

On July 30, the Prime Minister requested new approaches and measures should be adopted as the fight against COVID-19 may last long since a cure for the disease is still beyond grasp.

The pandemic situation remained complicated, especially in Ho Chi Minh City and several southern and central provinces, he said.

International cooperation in fight against COVID-19

As the pandemic is still evolving complicatedly around the world, the Government is determined to effectively carry out its vaccine strategy based on three pillars: (i) purchasing vaccines as much and soon as possible, (ii) accelerating research and transfer of production technology, and (iii) getting people freely vaccinated in a bid to achieve herd immunity in early 2022.

The Government vowed to seek every solution with the highest determination and greatest effort so as to realize the set goals to live up to the belief, hope and aspiration of the people.

In realization of the strategy, international cooperation plays a critical role. From this perspective, top Vietnamese leaders have conducted at least 20 phone conversations with the world’s leaders to discuss on bilateral cooperation against the COVID-19 pandemic.

During these conversations, the Vietnamese leaders also asked their counterparts to share their redundant vaccines with Viet Nam or consider transferring production technology to the Southeast Asian country.

In response to Viet Nam’s call, several partners have generously shared millions of COVID-19 vaccines to Viet Nam, helping the country to gradually increase its vaccination rate.

Viet Nam, in its capacity, has also provided assistance, including medical supplies to its partners in a solidarity move to share hardships in this difficult time. Most recently, the country decided to gift 12,000 tons of rice to help ease difficulties facing Cuban people amid the COVID-19 pandemic./.

By Quang Minh

 

 

 







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