HCMC – Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at a virtual conference held yesterday, October 9, between the national anti-Covid authority and leaders of 63 provinces and cities nationwide stressed that there must be no restrictions on the travel and transport activities across the country.
The Government leader tasked Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh with taking drastic moves to ensure smooth transportation nationwide. All localities must follow the Government’s guidelines and must not act in their own ways that could disrupt the traffic flow. If they have better measures for the adaptation to Covid, they should report them to the upper authority for consideration and adjustments.
PM Chinh requested issuing temporary guidelines on living with Covid safely and flexibly, as well as effectively control the pandemic.
Besides, localities must closely coordinate with each other and well organize the repatriation of their citizens who wish to return to their hometowns from virus-hit areas.
The Prime Minister also called for ramping up vaccine diplomacy in the upcoming time as vaccine remains the key to living with the pandemic. He asked the Health Ministry to draw up a detailed plan on the amount of vaccine doses that Vietnam will receive during the rest of the year and next year, and to be in charge of directing and allocating vaccines to localities. Also, he requested stepping up the production of domestic vaccine in line with prevailing regulations.
Further, reopening business and production activities must ensure safety. Ministries, relevant agencies and local authorities must continue to ensure social welfare for local people; study and work out a roadmap for implementing a vaccine passport program; reopen schools in safe areas, especially remote, mountainous, island regions, PM Chinh added.
74 million Covid-19 vaccine doses arrive in Vietnam
The Covid vaccination rate in Vietnam is on the rise, with an average of 1.5 million doses being administered per day.
Speaking at the meeting, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said that the prime minister had held phone talks with, sent diplomatic letters to, and discussed with countries and partners that could supply vaccines to Vietnam.
As of October 8, the country had administered around 51.4 million doses, with some 23.8 million people given their first dose and 13.8 million people being fully vaccinated. Also, the country has received 74 million doses in total up to now.
According to the Ministry of Health, provinces and cities that had enforced the stringent stay-at-home mandate have brought the latest outbreak under control. In HCMC and the neighboring provinces of Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Long An, the country’s major coronavirus hotspots in the latest wave, the numbers of new infections and fatalities have fallen sharply.
The number of locally-infected cases over the past two weeks has declined nearly 45% against the previous two weeks. However, some localities have reported a hike in new domestic infections compared to the previous week, including An Giang having 495 cases (up 177 cases), Ba Ria-Vung Tau seeing 72 cases (up 53 cases), Binh Thuan recording 148 cases (rising 45 cases), Quang Ngai reporting 39 cases (up 32 cases). The increase was attributed to the localities’ efforts to conduct Covid screening tests for people returning home from virus-hit areas.
Since October 1, 43 provinces and cities have seen around 180,000 people returning home from pandemic-hit areas, with over 1,000 of them testing positive for the coronavirus.
Minister Long added that the Covid transmission rate in HCMC has dropped significantly. The Covid positive rate in the city is now at some 0.2%, which is just one-twentieth of the rate of 3.7-4% when the outbreak was at its peak.
According to experts, effective anti-Covid measures taken over the past time have prevented millions of new infections and around 50,000 deaths in HCMC. To date, lots of Covid field hospitals in the city have seen more empty beds and the number of patients in intensive care units has also dropped 60%, the health official said.
However, the health minister noted that any locality in the country could face another resurgence of Covid at any time if it let guard down against Covid, especially when a large number of people are returning to their hometowns after mobility restrictions were relaxed.