Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam (centre) (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam will unilaterally stop granting visa-free entry to all Italian citizens from 0:00 am on March 3, amid fears over the spread of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic as the number of infected cases is rising rapidly in the European country.

The information was revealed by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam at a meeting of the national steering committee for the SARS-CoV-2-caused acute respiratory disease prevention and control in Hanoi on March 2.

According to the steering committee, Vietnam has been well controlling the disease with no new cases recorded since February 13. Son Loi commune in northern Vinh Phuc province’s Binh Xuyen district, which reported 11 out of the 16 confirmed infection cases, has been quarantined for 20 days, and the blockage is scheduled to be lifted at 0:00 am on March 4.

However, Dam, who is also head of the steering committee, called for the continued vigilance to actively cope with the possible appearance of new infected cases.

According to the Deputy PM, the source of the virus is not from only China as before, but also from the Republic of Korea (RoK), Iran, Italy and more than 60 other countries and territories across the world.

Therefore, it is difficult to detect the source of infection, as Vietnam cannot close its door to the world, Dam said, stressing the need to anticipate every situation, carry out necessary measures and stay vigilant in case new infections occur.

“Whether the source of infection is discovered or not, it is important to quickly quarantine and treat the infected patients and those with close contact to prevent the disease from spreading”, he stressed.

For Vietnamese people returning from the RoK, the Deputy PM asked for strict concentrated quarantine, and required punishment against those with wrong consciousness and dishonest declarations.

Regarding Koreans entering Vietnam, he asked relevant agencies to proactively arrange airports to receive flights from the RoK.

Korean citizens holding diplomatic passports, official passports or ordinary passports who have important business in socio-economic development and maintaining relations between the two countries will be considered for entering Vietnam if they meet specific requirements, Dam said.

The Deputy PM requested the Ministries of Health, and Science and Technology to speed up the development of test kits for mass production as more than 10,000 people are being quarantined in Vietnam.

According to the Health Ministry, as of 11:30 on March 2, 89,068 infected cases were confirmed in 67 nations and territories. The world also recorded 3,046 fatalities, including 2,913 in China, 22 in the RoK and 54 in Iran, 34 in Italy and 12 in Japan./.

VNA