Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long addresses the meeting.
Long issued the warning during a meeting in Hanoi on March 26 after the Ministry of Health confirmed two fresh coronavirus infections earlier the same day.
Both patients, with one in HCM City and the other in Hai Phong, had tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus after illegally entering Vietnam from Cambodia.
“I am worried about a possible new outbreak of the disease in Vietnam because the COVID-19 pandemic remains complicated in the region,” Long told the meeting.
According to the Health Minister, since the initial outbreak of the virus the country has deployed 10,000 border guards working around the clock across 1,600 checkpoints to manage illegal entry and exit activities.
However, Vietnam has long and wide border lines, making it very challenging to fully manage illegal movement, said the minister.
Statistics show large numbers of people have been found illegally entering Vietnam through unmanned paths and trails, exposing the country to higher risks of community transmission.
The minister warned that the risk of infection remains high in the community as the source of many cases remains unknown, with several cases showing no signs of any symptoms.
Due to this latest development, the minister stressed that the pandemic could break out again at any time. He called on various ministries, agencies, and localities to strictly abide by the PM’s instructions on COVID-19 prevention and control.
Prevention and control efforts in high-risk areas must be swiftly enhanced, he said.
The third COVID-19 wave struck Vietnam in late January 2021. More than 900 infections have been confirmed in 13 cities and provinces nationwide. About 10 localities have reported no new locally transmitted cases for more than a month.