Ho Chi Minh City’s market surveillance officials and police on March 3 seized one million medical masks of unknown origin at a warehouse on Luong The Vinh Street in Tan Phu district.
An official from the inspection team said that 400 boxes containing the masks were prepared to be loaded onto a bus to be sold abroad.
He said that after a period of monitoring, the team from HCM City’s Department of Market Surveillance cooperated with HCM City Police’s Economic Crime, Corruption and Smuggling Police Division on March 3 evening to check the warehouse.
He said among the seized masks, there were nine different types, all of unknown origin, and no invoices for the products.
Initially, the smugglers admitted purchasing the medical masks in the country, collecting them at the warehouse, then loading them onto a bus for sale abroad.
Further investigation is underway.
Meanwhile, police in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang have discovered two gangs smuggling face masks from Vietnam to Cambodia, seizing approximately 36,000 items.
Tran Tan Loi, head of the Vinh Xuong International Border Gate Customs Sub-Department, said the sub-department has cooperated with border forces to bust a smuggling ring in Tan Chau township.
At 7.10pm on March 3, the police were patrolling a trail in the town when they found suspect packages containing 320 boxes of face masks. The police seized the masks.
Previously, on March 2, customs officials of the Tinh Bien International Border Gate Customs Sub-Department pulled over a motorbike transporting boxes across the border without declaration. As many as 40 boxes of face masks were seized.
The motorbike driver, named Sam Nang, a Cambodian national, failed to show legal papers proving the origin of the products. He said he was hired to transport the cargo from Vietnam to Cambodia.
Preventive measures needed to respond to COVID-19: expert
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, head of the the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, chairs the meeting
The health sector needs to well prepare preventive measures with focus on early detection, epidemic fencing and quarantine although Vietnam has recorded no new SARS-CoV-2 infection cases since February 13, said Director of the Health Ministry’s Department for Medical Examination and Treatment Luong Ngoc Khue.
Speaking at a meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Hanoi on March 4, Khue said a centre for managing and supporting treatment for COVID-19 patients is scheduled to be launched on March 5 to help quick-response teams, which are responsible for responding quickly to any outbreaks and providing professional aid for hospitals.
Regarding the production of quick test kits, members of the Steering Committee said that according the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology’s report, three types of test kit produced by the Military Medical Academy and the Viet A Technology JSC are recommended for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2.
The Ministry of Science and Technology’s Science Council on March 3 proposed the Health Ministry to license the use of test kits in the coming days.
On flights from the Republic of Korea (RoK) to Vietnam, Deputy Minister of Transport Le Anh Tuan said from 18:00 of March 3, flights are only allowed to land at Van Don Airport in the northern province of Quang Ninh and Phu Cat Airport in the central province of Binh Dinh.
In the coming period, airlines will continue to reduce flights between the two countries, he added.
At the meeting, the Steering Committee’s members and health experts discussed logistics work and preparations on facilities and medical supplies and equipment serving the fight against the disease.
According to a report of the Health Ministry, as of 12:00 am on March 4, 93,080 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in 80 countries and territories, including 80,269 cases in China. The disease has killed 3,202 people globally.
Army joins COVID-19 response drill
The Ministry of National Defence on March 4 held a largest-ever drill in response to COVID-19 with the involvement of military units across the country.
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, who is also head of the national steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control, monitored the exercise.
The drill took place with five hypothetical scenarios based on five levels of severity of the epidemic. In the most serious scenario, there are more than 30,000 confirmed cases in the country and the virus has spread to several military units.
It also included the implementation of a 600-bed hospital and the quarantine of people who come to Vietnam from disease-hit countries via airports, along with coordination between forces and special measures in case of emergency.
Addressing the event, Deputy PM Dam lauded the defence ministry’s organisation of the drill, which, he said, not only responds to the epidemic but also prepares for future non-traditional security incidents.
According to Sen. Lieut. Gen. Phan Van Giang, Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army and Deputy Defence Minister, the army has put more than 10,000 people in quarantine, with no infections among soldiers recorded so far.
Measuring body temperation of those returning from disease-hit areas
The Military Zone 7 High Command held a drill in response to the acute respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in order to make it well-prepared and ready for a possible outbreak in the southeastern region.
The drill included two parts: an exercise on the operation of disease prevention mechanism and a field training exercise in a hypothetical situation.
The mechanism operation exercise was implemented in a five-level hypothetical situation from the early appearance of the disease to its spread to the community of 3,000-30,000 people.
Meanwhile, in the field training exercise, 15 out of 550 people being quarantined at Division 317 in Ho Chi Minh City’s Hoc Mon district show symptoms of cough, fever and shortness of breath, including two serious cases.
The exercise attracted the participation of officers and soldiers of Division 317, and doctors and nurses of several hospitals in the region.
Amid the complicated developments of the COVID-19, the Military Zone 7 High Command established its steering board on COVID-19 prevention and control, and has arranged 15 quarantine places which are able to receive over 5,000 people coming from disease-hit areas.
As of March 4, there were 324 people being quarantined at military barracks of the Military Zone 7 High Command, including 273 Vietnamese, two Chinese and 49 Koreans. VNA/VNN
HCM City is producing millions of cloth face masks to meet rising demand amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) is exerting efforts to produce around 6 million antibacterial face masks in February to meet increasing demand amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.