Speaking at a meeting between the permanent cabinet members and the standing members of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on February 24, the minister said localities around the country have performed well in implementing prevention and control measures.
As of the morning of February 24, Vietnam had 2,403 COVID-19 infections, with 1,760 recoveries. Ten localities hit by the latest outbreak have now gone many days without new cases, he noted.
In Hai Duong, the pandemic is now under sound control with faster testing and contact tracing.
He said that SARS-CoV-2 variants found in cases in Vietnam include the 20C variant, which was contracted by a Japanese patient found dead in Hanoi earlier this month and another recent case in the capital. This variant is mostly found in the Republic of Korea, India, and Taiwan (China), but not Japan. Its infection speed is not high, while its strength is yet to be determined.
The SARS-CoV-2 variant found in Hai Duong originated from the UK and South Africa, while that in Quang Ninh was also detected in the UK.
The minister asked localities to continue applying preventive measures against the pandemic in line with the Prime Minister’s Directive No. 05, while paying greater attention to supervising medical facilities and patients exhibiting fevers and coughs as well as foreign experts and people entering the country from abroad.
The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines arrives in Vietnam on February 24, 2021. (Photo: NDO)
At the meeting, local authorities of Quang Ninh announced that the northern province will spend at least VND500 billion (US$21.7 million) on purchasing COVID-19 vaccines, targeting mass vaccinations as soon as possible.
Quang Ninh recently issued a resolution stipulating urgent tasks and solutions in the COVID-19 fight.
It will cut 10% from regular spending and increase budget contingency to a maximum of 4% per total budget spending in order to provide the resources to fight COVID-19 and other diseases and respond to natural disasters and emergencies.
At a meeting on February 23, the standing board of the provincial Party Committee decided to provide VND4 billion to the neighbouring province of Hai Duong, which is now grappling with COVID-19 clusters.
* The Central Highlands province of Gia Lai will remove social distancing order at the stroke of February 25 in four localities reporting no new COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days, according to its announcement issued on February 24.
They include Ayun Pa township and the districts of Ia Pa, Phu Thien and Krong Pa.
Students of the province are set to return to school on March 1 while socio-economic activities will resume in the new circumstance.
Gia Lai had logged no COVID-19 infections as of 5 pm on February 24, marking two weeks without new cases.
* Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are planning to reopen schools on March 1, according to the Ministry of Education and Training, after a two-week delay to the scheduled resumption when Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday end mid-February.
A health worker sprays disinfectants at a high school in HCM City’s District 10. (Photo: NDO)
Hanoi could reopen schools on March 2 if the COVID-19 situation is under control (March 2 will be the date marking 14 days of local infections), according to municipal authorities.
The HCM City People’s Committee on February 24 approved the Department of Education and Training’s proposal to reopen schools on March 1 since the recent COVID-19 outbreak has been well controlled.
To prepare for the reopening, the administration has called for disinfecting schools and adopting preventive measures. This week the department will ensure these tasks are undertaken at all schools.
As of February 24, the city has gone through 13 days without any new community transmissions of the coronavirus.
Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Health has developed an emergency plan for COVID-19 outbreaks under three scenarios of fewer than 100, 200 and 500 positive cases. The plan is being made because of pandemic developments including new variants and outbreaks globally.
To date, 51 provinces and cities nationwide have already reopened schools.