Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered government agencies to take bolder measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus (nCoV), even at the expense of economic benefits.
|Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Photo: Quang Hieu/VGP|
“We accept potential economic losses, and consider our people’s health and lives the most important,” PM Phuc said at a government meeting late on January 27, the third day of the Lunar New Year.
The nCoV, first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan on December 31, 2019, has claimed more than 80 human lives and infected some 2,800 others. The virus has been reported in 15 countries and territories around the globe, including in the US, Canada and Australia.
PM Phuc acknowledged the high possibility of the virus becoming an epidemic in Vietnam given the fact that the country shares more than 1,000 kilometer of land border with China and Chinese account for one third of foreign tourists to Vietnam annually.
The head of the government requested the Health Ministry to ensure medical supplies and build more detailed contingent plans to deal with the nCoV.
“We consider fighting against the epidemic like against the enemy,” PM Phuc stressed.
A national steering committee will be set up, led by Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam, to tackle the deadly virus.
In addition, the Ministry of National Defense is asked to establish 9 field hospitals across the country to receive and treat nCoV patients.
Fever scanners will be installed at all international ports and major border gates as the first layer to detect the virus. A ban has been in place against the import of wild animals into Vietnam.
Tour operators and airlines are required not to accept tourists from nCoV-hit areas. All persons who enter Vietnam from China are required to fill in medical declaration forms from January 25.
The foreign and labor ministries will have to investigate the number of Vietnamese in China for further protection measures.
Vietnam has so far recorded 63 cases that have fever and have come from nCoV-hit regions. Of them, 25 have been determined not to carry the virus while the other 38 need further tests and are under quarantine. Two Chinese nationals who are infected with the virus are being quarantined in a Ho Chi Minh City hospital and in stable condition, according to a Health Ministry report.
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