Dr Tran Dac Phu, advisor for the Vietnam Center for Emergency Response to Public Health Events, said Vietnam does not have to change anti-pandemic policies when China reopens borders and removes quarantine rules on January 8, 2023.

Truong Huu Khanh, epidemiologist and vice chair of the HCM City Infectious Association, predicted that the number of infection cases may increase during the 2023 Solar New Year and Tet holiday as people travel.

According to Phu, the cases will increase upon China’s reopening and Vietnam needs to continue preventive measures as the pandemic situation is still serious in some countries with the existence of complicated variants. 

Japan on December 28 reported 45 deaths because of Covid-19 on the day, the highest daily level in the country so far.

A representative of the Preventive Medicine Department under the Ministry of Health (MOH) told VietNamNet that Vietnam has opened its doors for exchange with all countries, so the move by China to reopen borders was inevitable.

He said that when China reopens its border, Vietnam should prevent new variants which may cause infections. 

“The assessment of the pandemic situation needs to be made on the number of daily new cases, the number of patients becoming more serious, and the number of deaths, as well as the appearance of new variants,” he said.

“We need to keep a close watch over the indexes to see if we need to reactivate the anti-pandemic system,” he said.

According to MOH, the Covid-19 pandemic in localities has been controlled and the vaccination campaign has brought satisfactory results. The vaccination coverage in Vietnam is very high.  

However, MOH predicted that the situation may become more complicated in the time to come, with a disease outbreak risk due to new variants. 

There are also risks for respiratory diseases in the in-between season, which may lead to overlapping epidemics.

The emergence and evolution of new variants leads to weaker immunity. 

Meanwhile, the readiness and participation of local authorities and branches have decreased considerably. 

The complacency about achievements in fighting Covid-19 may also lead to an increase in pandemic outbreak risks.

The risks will increase not only because of higher travel demand during the New Year and Tet holiday, but also because of the weather. It is the time for infectious diseases to spread, especially among children with weak resistance and older people with underlying health conditions.

According to Phu, Vietnam should continue to prevent Covid-19 in a flexible way. First, vaccinate people. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the world is still in the pandemic period and the new variants may escalate the situation again. 

Vaccination remains the most important measure to deal with the pandemic.

Second, Vietnam should cooperate closely with WHO to monitor the appearance of new variants in order to have reasonable responses.

Third, people need to wear protective masks and wash their hands regularly.

He emphasized the need to pay attention to protecting high-risk people such as the elderly and people with underlying conditions to keep the death rate at the lowest possible level.

Ngoc Trang - An Yen