More COVID-19 infection clusters may emerge in Vietnam Health Minister

20/8/2020| 9:14

Acting Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long on August 19 called on localities to raise virus alert to the highest level as more clusters of coronavirus infections may be detected in the community in the time to come.

The COVID-19 epidemic in Da Nang and Quang Nam seems to be waning as the number of new cases has decreased in recent days, Long told an online meeting with health directors of 63 cities and provinces.

However, he warned localities must be well prepared for a longer epidemic, and without vaccines to be produced, the fight against the epidemic will be very difficult.

Acting Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long: Localities are required to raise virus alert to the highest level as the fight against COVID-19 will be likely to last longer.

“Outbreaks in Da Nang city and Quang Nam province and most recently in Hai Duong province have offered us lessons regarding preparations for the resurgence of the virus.” Long said, citing the fact that the situation in Da Nang, for example, is better now thanks to timely assistance from the Ministry of Health and other leading national hospitals.

“But what would happen if the epidemic breaks out in a mountainous locality?” he raised the question, adding “The complex nature of the epidemic means it always puts us on standby at any time.” The acting minister particularly emphasized a high risk of clusters of infections in the community as the coronavirus strain this time spreads very quickly.

“Every family may become an outbreak,” Long told the meeting. “There were only about 40 outbreaks several months ago (when the first wave of COVID-19 started), this time there were about 150 outbreaks. The virus will continue to spread in the community, so the COVID-19 control in health facilities should be prioritised.”

According to the acting minister, his ministry is trying by all means to access vaccine supplies. However, he said the vaccine would be likely available for commercial use in the second half of 2021 at the latest.

“While we are waiting for the vaccine to be supplied, we have no choice but to be well prepared to fight against the virus,” Long stressed. “Localities must raise the virus alert to the highest level to early detect and quarantine any suspected cases so as to nip in the bud any outbreak.”

Long proposed that localities take the initiative in purchasing medical equipment, and bio-products while enhancing the screening and testing capacity, to effectively stamp out the disease. Last but not least, he proposed localities review anti-epidemic procedures at health facilities to protect key departments such as the resuscitation and dialysis departments, as well as medical workers.

He asked health facilities to develop scenarios to prepare for the worst possible case in which the hospital is locked down, and there are many patients and medical staff testing positive for SARS-CoV-2./.