Dr. Nguyen Hong Ha, vice president of the Vietnam Association for Infectious Diseases, says the country is on the verge of a new COVID-19 outbreak in the community similar to current outbreaks which are ravaging neighbouring countries, including Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and the Philippines.
The risk of local transmission occurring is considered to be very high as an increasing number of Vietnamese people residing in neighbouring countries, especially Cambodia, are seeking to cross the border and enter the nation for safety reasons, according to Ha.
Whilst the country has been able to effectively control the virus without any new cases detected within the community over the past few weeks, many Vietnamese citizens consider it to be a good choice to return to the homeland in order to escape the threat of COVID-19 in other places.
Given this context, Ha believes the fight against COVID-19 should be raised to a new level, including boosting the epidemiological and testing capacity nationwide, especially in border localities, in order to nip any possible new outbreaks in the bud.
Concurring with this point of view, Dr. Tran Dac Phu, a senior advisor to the Ministry of Health, notes that prevention is always better than cure.
“It is rather safe if infection cases are detected early and placed into quarantine, or it is dangerous if a new outbreak occurs,” says the senior health expert.
According to Dr. Phu, Vietnam has acquired plenty of experience in bringing previous outbreaks under control, while its success story has been acknowledged internationally. Despite previous success, he warns that there is no room for complacency as the pandemic is evolving in an increasingly complex manner regionally and globally.
All localities and the healthcare sector must be put on standby in order to deal with the worst-case scenario, he suggests.
He also reminds localities to tighten control of quarantine facilities in order to avoid cross transmission.
The most effective measure, according to Phu, is to strictly follow the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 recommendations, including the 5K message in Vietnamese: namely khau trang (facemask), khu khuan (disinfection), khoang cach (distance), khong tu tap (no gathering), and khai bao y te (health declaration).