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For coronavirus prevention, Vietnam accepts economic losses: PM
The Saigon Times Daily
Tuesday,  Jan 28, 2020,08:59 (GMT+7)

For coronavirus prevention, Vietnam accepts economic losses: PM

The Saigon Times Daily

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) talks to his deputy Vu Duc Dam, currently in charge of the Health Ministry, on the sidelines of a meeting, held in Hanoi on January 27 – PHOTO: TNO

HCMC – The Government is willing to accept economic losses if the lives and health of the people are protected, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at a meeting, held in Hanoi on Tuesday, on measures to contain the possible outbreak of the novel Wuhan coronavirus.

Residents in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the deadly respiratory disease, and other localities in China, are struggling to cope with a worsening coronavirus epidemic as its official number of infections soared and the death toll rose to at least 80.

Given its deep international integration, Vietnam faces high risks of being affected by this dangerous and rapidly spreading disease while no vaccine against the virus is available yet, Prime Minister Phuc was quoted by the local media as saying.

Vietnam is a popular tourist destination among people from numerous countries, including China, and shares a long borderline with its northern neighbor, according to the Cabinet leader.

He demanded the relevant ministries, agencies and local government neither be subjective nor underestimate the acute respiratory disease for the sake of protecting the public’s health and lives.

They must take steps to curb the possible outbreak from spreading on a large scale, and minimize deaths from it. He also told them to prevent fears among the public, as well as discrimination against patients, including foreigners.

“Fighting the outbreak is like fighting an enemy,” Phuc said, urging the authorities across the country’s 63 provinces and cities to take prompt actions.

Necessary measures must be taken to prevent disease transmission through tourists by air, waterway and road. International points of entry, especially, must be equipped with thermal scanners.

Further, the Ministry of Health should publicize a list of healthcare facilities offering disease treatment, and warn the public against visiting crowded places.

Attaching significance to stronger communications to raise public awareness as a top priority, the Prime Minister said a national steering committee chaired by one of his deputies, Vu Duc Dam, will be set up to prevent and control the disease.

The leader also ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs review the number of Vietnamese guest workers in China in order to adopt plans if necessary.

As of Tuesday, Vietnam saw 63 suspected cases of patients with fever who recently returned from disease-hit Chinese localities.

A total of 25 people were tested negative for the coronavirus while 38 others are still kept in quarantine, including the Chinese father and his son diagnosed with the virus and receiving treatment at the HCMC-based Cho Ray Hospital.

Deputy Minister of Transport Le Anh Tuan confirmed that the local budget airline Vietjet had operated four flights carrying Wuhan-based tourists from Vietnam back to the Wuhan International Airport. None of them showed signs of infections.

China's Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei revealed on Sunday that the lethal virus was infectious during its incubation period of between one and 14 days even though people may show no symptoms.

This makes the latest outbreak different from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), another strain of the coronavirus which originated in China and killed almost 800 people globally in 2002-2003, which was not contagious in its incubation period.

The comments came as the death toll continued to rise. China confirmed on Monday that 80 people had died from the respiratory disease, up from 56 a day earlier, while 2,744 people were infected.

The novel virus, believed to have originated late last year in a seafood market in Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife, has spread to Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as the United States, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Australia, France and Canada.

On Sunday, China announced a nationwide ban on the sale of wildlife in markets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms. In Vietnam, Prime Minister Phuc placed an outright ban on the import and transport of wild animals into the country.

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