Vietnam successfully masters COVID-19 test kit technology
Vietnam has been able to comprehensively master production technologies used in novel coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits and has increased the speed of research in the search for an epidemic vaccine, according to representatives of the Ministry of Health (MoH).
These achievements can be attributed to the great efforts put in by scientists working in the medical sector, MoH representatives told Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, who is also head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, at its meeting in Hanoi on June 30.
They said the Ministry is now focusing on deploying COVID-19 test kits, placing orders to purchase additional test kits, providing training for medical workers at a grassroots level.
Our primary goal is to rapidly and accurately detect any infected cases and ensure the implementation of screening tests for the wider community, the MoH representatives said.
With regard to the vaccine research and production project, according to MoH officials, Vietnam has achieved positive results in producing candidate vaccines during clinical trials. It is collaborating with local firms to fully tap into the advantages of Vietnamese vaccine research and production to prepare for the worst scenario of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Vietnam warned not to soon reopen door post-COVID-19
Vietnam should be cautious about reopening its door to the world as the novel coronavirus pandemic is evolving in a complex manner globally, foreign experts told the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Hanoi on June 30.
At the meeting, representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international organisations spoke highly of Vietnam’s initial success in COVID-19 prevention and control in the recent past, as well as Vietnamese scientists’ efforts in researching and manufacturing equipment and medical biological products for the fight against the COVID-19.
They said the pandemic has begun to take its toll on global economies, both small and large alike. While the COVID-19 outbreak is spreading in a complex manner globally, it is dangerous that some countries consider re-opening the border and resuming international air routes to boost economic recovery.
Dr Kidong Park, WHO representative to Vietnam, pointed out that the WHO had a meeting two months ago discussing the possibility of reopening borders and resuming international flights.
To make this decision, he said countries need to consider if the disease has been brought under control in both directions, and the health system is able to cope with an increase in the number of infections after reopening the border and resuming international flights. In addition, the medical surveillance system should be capable of detecting, tracking, and managing imported cases.
After that meeting, he said WHO technical group has developed a set of guidelines for reopening the border and resuming international air routes. The WHO maintained that the reopening of the border must be based on the capacity of the surveillance system at the border with priority given to only essential travel.
At the June 30 meeting, international experts warned that countries should be cautious about reopening their borders or resuming international air routes as very few countries in the world have brought the pandemic under control wihin the community for 30 consecutive days.
Instead, they recommended that countries should maximize investment in the healthcare system to increase its preparedness to cope with the worst case scenario while discussing with partner countries the possibility of reopening the border or international flights.
They advised Vietnam’s health sector to further improve its testing capacity, considering this key to preventing the epidemic. At the same time, they said it is necessary to enhance communication campaigns to equip residents with necessary knowledge to cope with a possible new wave of virus infection in the future.
Representatives of international organizations also pledged to work closely with Vietnam in the fight, and hoped that Vietnam would share and cooperate with countries in COVID-19 vaccine research and production.
Recovery going well for British pilot after 105 days of treatment
A British pilot patient (patient 91) who is currently being treated at Ho Chi Minh City-based Cho Ray Hospital is making a strong recovery and is mentality stable, according to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) treatment sub-committee under the Ministry of Health.
At present, the British pilot needs time in order to recover all of his functions, with it being necessary that he meets all relevant health criteria in order for it to be considered safe before he can be discharged from hospital and take a long-haul flight to return to his native UK.
He is now entering the 19th consecutive day of being disconnected from the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a life support machine, and is now breathing independently.
Moreover, the pilot is able to communicate competently with doctors, and take a few steps on his own, is able to eat without the need for any medical intervention, and sleeps well at night.
Health officials believe that the patient is in now in a period of physical therapy, rehabilitation, wound care, and nutrition enhancement.
Groups of leading Vietnamese health experts are poised to meet to take part in the sixth national consultation this week in an effort to check on the progress of the case in order to determine if he can be considered healthy enough to be discharged from hospital and be put on a 12-hour flight back to the UK on July 12.
If the patient’s health comes up to the necessary standards, it is possible that he could soon be leaving Vietnam with the assistance of local health specialists.
Since being admitted to health facilities, “patient 91” has spent a total of 105 days receiving treatment. He initially stayed at the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases where he underwent treatment from March 18 to May 22 and was successfully cured of COVID-19.
He has since gone on to test negative for the virus, and has been receiving treatment at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City since May 22.
In total, 49 out of a total of 50 foreign COVID-19 patients have been cured nationwide, with the British pilot being the last one still being treated at Cho Ray Hospital.
The country has now successfully gone through 76 consecutive days without the emergence of any COVID-19 cases recorded within the community as of the morning of July 1, with 355 COVID-19 cases being confirmed so far.
There are now 20 COVID-19 cases being treated throughout the nation, with nine of them subsequently testing negative for the virus at least once.
COVID-19 positive cases in Vietnam down to 11
|Vietnamese citizens repatriated from South Africa receive certificates for their completion of 14-day quarantine|
Vietnam has gone through 76 consecutive days without new COVID-19 cases recorded in the community on July 1 morning, with the number of positive cases reducing to 11.
According to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, 20 patients are being treated at health facilities nationwide and most are in stable condition. Four tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once and five tested negative at least twice.
Among the total 355 infections so far, 215 were imported and quarantined upon arrival. The committee’s treatment sub-committee reported that 335 patients have given all-clear and there is no death.
At present, 12,580 people having close contact with patients or entering from pandemic-hit areas are quarantined at hospitals, concentrated quarantine facilities, and homes.
Vietnamese Embassy presents face masks to Washington D.C.
|Minister Counselor at the Vietnamese Embassy in the US Hoang Thi Thanh Nga (second from left) presents the face masks to authorities in Washington D.C. (Photo: VNA)|
The Embassy of Vietnam in the US handed over 3,500 Made-in-Vietnam face masks to authorities in Washington D.C. on June 30 to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the ceremony, Minister Counselor Hoang Thi Thanh Nga spoke highly of efforts undertaken by the US capital to curb the spread of the disease while maintaining appropriate activities.
She expressed a belief that the city will soon overcome the challenges and help the lives of local residents return to normal, and pledged that staff members at the embassy would always comply with local guidelines on battling the pandemic.
The diplomat also expressed a hope for stronger Vietnam-US relations in the time to come, as the two countries mark 25th anniversary of bilateral ties being normalised this year.
Kimberly Bassett from the Washington D.C. administration said the masks will be distributed to the city’s public schools prior to the new term beginning.
She vowed to closely cooperate with and create favourable conditions for the embassy to act as a bridge linking the Governments and people of the two countries.
Number of COVID-19 infections remains at 355 on late June 30
The number of COVID-19 cases in Vietnam stands at 355 as no new infections were reported in the evening of June 30, which is also the 75th straight day without community transmission of the coronavirus in the country.
Among all infections, 215 are imported cases which were quarantined upon their arrival, according to the national steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control.
Up to 335 or 94.4 percent of all patients have recovered while four of the remainders have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, once and five others at least twice.
At present, 9,877 people having close contact with confirmed cases or coming from pandemic-hit areas are under quarantine, including 82 in hospitals, 8,958 in other quarantine facilities, and 837 at home.
Regarding Patient 91 – a British pilot, the treatment sub-committee said his health has continued to improve, and he is undergoing comprehensive functional rehabilitation.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son said the UK Embassy has sent a request to the sub-committee, asking for the patient to be repatriated on a flight on July 12.
The sub-committee is planning a meeting this week that will be the sixth national consultation on this patient so as to have a comprehensive review of his health. If he is fit enough for the trip, the Vietnamese side will send medical workers to accompany him on the way home, the official added.
Residents of Pham Viet Chanh Residential Area negative for coronavirus
All the neighbours of a recovered COVID-19 patient suspected to have relapsed in HCM City have tested negative for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Nguyen Dinh Anh, head of the Ministry of Health's Department of Communications, Emulation and Reward, said on Tuesday morning that the samples from residents on the 12th Floor, Lot D, Phạm Viết Chánh Residential Area in Bình Thạnh District’s Ward 19 were negative, including samples from Patient 326 and their family members.
Earlier, on Monday evening, the People's Committee of Ward 19 took samples from residents following a report that Patient 326 had relapsed.
Patient 326, 20, is a student who returned from France to Việt Nam on May 24. He was immediately tested and quarantined upon arrival. His sample tested positive the following day.
He was announced recovered on June 9 and continued under home quarantine for another 14 days at Phạm Viết Chánh Residential Area. On June 20, his daily test showed a weak positive result.
Due to relapse fears, the city’s health sector tested for him and people living around as a precautionary measure.
The Ministry of Health advised people not to worry about the sudden mass as many patients had re-tested weak positive for the coronavirus after being discharged from the hospital but they were unable to spread the disease.
As of Tuesday, HCM City has had 61 COVID-19 patients, of which 57 have recovered and been discharged from hospitals. The total number of people in concentrated quarantine is 568 people while 119 others are under quarantine at residences.
Self-sufficiency in vaccine supply critical to COVID-19 fight: Deputy PM
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has stressed the need for Vietnam to capitalise on every opportunity to develop and produce COVID-19 vaccines, noting that self-sufficiency in supply is critical to disease prevention and control.
He made the remarks at a meeting of the Ministry of Health in Hanoi on June 30 that discussed COVID-19 testing methods and vaccine production in Vietnam and other countries.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said many countries have tested COVID-19 vaccines on mice and chickens before human trials. In Vietnam, scientists are promoting vaccine development and determining a model for mass production that suits the local situation.
Vietnam has been able to conduct both antibody tests (also known as rapid tests) and antigen tests (PCR tests) for the coronavirus with high precision, which is the result of substantial efforts by health scientists, he noted.
In the time ahead the Health Ministry will adjust the strategy for test kit manufacturing to ensure test quality and effectiveness as well as mass production of test kits.
It will also step up vaccine development and production plans, including those for cases of large-scale virus transmission, Long went on.
He added that Vietnam will strive to make use of global technology and experience in coronavirus response and vaccine production so as to help improve its self-efficiency in vaccine supply.
Army honoured for pioneering role in pandemic combat
A ceremony was held in Hanoi on June 30 night to honour agencies, collectives and individuals for their contributions to the fight against COVID-19, with the Vietnam People’s Army among the main forces working on the frontline of the combat.
In her remarks at the event, Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan lauded the efforts of the army, especially military medical workers, border guards, officers and soldiers working in quarantined facilities, and members of the steering board for COVID-19 prevention and control of the Ministry of National Defence.
Their spirit has set examples and become a source of momentum for people nationwide to fight the disease and spur socio-economic development, the top legislator said.
She said the pandemic is still developing complicatedly and may last longer, which requires greater efforts to contain its spread and prevent infections within the community.
“Epidemic prevention is the foundation for the country to fully restore socio-economic activities and grow stronger after the epidemic is put under control globally,” Ngan stressed.
The NA Chairwoman, therefore, urged the army to maintain vigilance, enhance combat readiness, and resolutely and persistently safeguard national border, sea and island sovereignty, keeping a peaceful and stable environment for national construction and development.
The spirit of “fighting the pandemic is like fighting an enemy” should be carried forward, she said, asking the army to adopt suitable solutions to not only COVID-19 but also other non-traditional security challenges.
The chief legislator called on people and comrades nationwide to promote their social responsibility and stay resolved to prevent the return of the pandemic among the community.
Ministries, agencies and localities also need to roll out concrete and effective solutions to remove difficulties in production and business, and ensure social welfare, thus enabling the country to move forward after COVID-19, Ngan said.
More citizens brought home from Japan
A flight conducted by budget carrier Vietjet Air brought 225 Vietnamese citizens back to Vietnam from Japan on June 30.
The flight was arranged by Vietnamese authorities, the country’s embassy in Japan, Japanese agencies and Vietjet Air.
The passengers included children, the elderly, the ill, pregnant women, and workers with expired labour contracts or without accommodation.
The Vietnamese Embassy sent staff members to assist the citizens with boarding procedures at the airport.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, disease prevention measures were carried out throughout the flight. The flight crew and all passengers were also given heath examinations upon landing at Da Nang International Airport and then sent to quarantine in line with regulations.
Under the Prime Minister’s direction, domestic authorities and Vietnam’s overseas representative offices are making plans to fly more Vietnamese citizens home, depending on the citizens’ need and the country’s quarantine capacity.
Laos keep entry restrictions in place until end of July
The Lao Government has decided to keep its international border gates closed to normal exit-entry, except for Lao citizens or foreigners with urgent need who must receive permission from the Lao national steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control.
In an announcement on June 30, the Lao Government Office said Laos will also continue with the suspension of visa issuance to individuals who come from or transit countries with COVID-19 outbreaks, except for diplomats, investors, entrepreneurs, experts and workers for important projects in Laos.
At the same time, the Government allows the resumption of sports activities with audience and events such as meetings, parties, festivals and weddings provided that epidemic prevention measures are applied.
Also on June 30, the Lao national steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control said the country had gone through 79 straight days without any new cases of COVID-19 as of 17:00 on June 29.
From January to June 29, Laos reported only 19 COVID-19 cases and all patients have recovered.
Meanwhile in Indonesia, the police have deployed nearly 78,000 personnel across the country to guard the shift to the new normal situation and ensure that all citizens follow regulations on COVID-19 prevention.
As of June 30, the country had 56,385 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 2,876 fatalities.
Thailand to reopen border checkpoints, Indonesia warns of COVID-19 asymptomatic carriers
Thailand will reopen checkpoints on the border with all neighboring countries to resume cross-border cargo transport and trading from July 1, according to the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
CCSA on June 29 decided to reopen a total of 37 checkpoints on the borders with Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia so that cargo can be transported and traders allowed to cross the border, said CCSA spokesman Thaweesilp Visanuyothin.
That is part of the Phase-5 easing of Thailand's lockdown measures against the pandemic.
However, tourists from the neighboring countries are not allowed to enter Thailand via those border checkpoints.
In Indonesia, the majority of people diagnosed with the COVID-19 are asymptomatic carriers, thus possible transmissions from these carriers should be kept an eye on, said Doni Monardo, the chairman of the COVID-19 mitigation task force.
More than 70 percent, or even higher in several regions at up to 90 percent, of the patients in Indonesia did not show symptoms, said Doni after a limited cabinet meeting on June 29.
If they were not put under quarantine, they could spread the virus to anyone, with the highest risk of transmission faced by people with comorbidities or congenital diseases, he added.
The latest data shows that over 85 percent of the COVID-19 death toll involved those with comorbidities, such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, tuberculosis, cancers, and other illnesses, he said.
Japanese retailer presents aid to Vietnamese students, practitioners
The AEON 1% Club Foundation under Japan’s AEON Co. presented 5 million JPY (46,000 USD) to Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Vu Hong Nam on June 30 in support of Vietnamese students and practitioners hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the handover ceremony, Chairman of the foundation Hiroshi Yokoo spoke highly of the support the Vietnamese people have given each other in the host country during COVID-19 as well as Vietnam’s achievements in battling the pandemic.
For his part, Nam thanked the AEON 1% Club Foundation and AEON for the assistance.
The Vietnamese Embassy has over time arranged fundraising campaigns to support the nearly 100,000 Vietnamese studying in Japan.
AEON’s recent importation of fresh fruit from Vietnam bolstered the two countries’ trade and economic relations, the diplomat added.
Major AEON Group companies donate 1 percent of their pre-tax profits to the AEON 1% Club Foundation, which was established in 1989 and engages in corporate social responsibility activities.