Addressing an online meeting with representatives from 63 provinces and cities, and their health sectors on accelerating COVID-19 prevention and vaccination efforts, Long warned that Vietnam is in danger of experiencing another outbreak.
He stressed that controlling the pandemic this year will be very difficult for all countries, not just Vietnam.
Vietnam has gone 21 straight days with no new cases of domestic transmission, he said, while also noting that the situation remains complex in the world and the region. The country is still organising commercial flights to bring Vietnamese citizens home, he added.
The Ministry of Health – the standing agency of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control – will continue to strengthen its direction as well as inspection and supervision of high-risk areas.
He underlined the urgent need to prevent illegal travel in border areas and to strictly tackle violations.
Regarding vaccinations, Long said the ministry has made efforts to negotiate with suppliers around the world to purchase larger volumes as soon as possible.
In addition to more than 117,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that were imported into Vietnam at the end of February, 811,200 more doses of AstraZeneca, sponsored by the COVAX Facility through UNICEF, have also arrived in the country.
Forty-nine out of Vietnam’s 63 cities and provinces nationwide have been provided with vaccines from the second batch, he said.
The ministry has directed localities to promptly map out plans and speed up vaccinations, towards completing the task by May 5.
So far, 75,000 people have received COVID-19 vaccinations, Long said, and affirmed that Vietnam will continue using the AstraZenecca vaccine in the time to come.
At the meeting, a representative of the World Health Organisation praised Vietnam’s efforts and affirmed that the benefits vaccines offer far outweigh the risks.
Also on April 16, the last COVID-19 patient in northern Hai Duong province, which was Vietnam’s largest hotspot during the third wave of outbreaks, was discharged from hospital.