All air passengers coming to Vietnam from the Ebola-hit region in Africa will be required to fill out health declaration forms from August 15 onward, under a new rule of the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, which has also set out three scenarios to cope with the deadly virus.
The health declaration will be applied to those who have left the region for less than 21 days before arriving in Vietnam, the ministry said.
Such a duration is set out as the disease has an incubation period ranging from two to 21 days, the ministry explained.
The Ebola-hit region now comprises four African countries: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, the ministry said.
The new rule was issued following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) report that the Ebola virus disease (EVD), a viral hemorrhagic fever, is widely spreading in West Africa and has killed over 900 people so far this year.
Liberia’s president declared a state of emergency on Wednesday as the WHO said the death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has risen to 932, CBS News reported.
Ebola is a highly fatal virus that can kill 90 percent of infected people, the ministry warned, adding that the Ebola infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people.
As a severe acute viral illness, the EVD is often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, according to the WHO.
3 scenarios against Ebola
The disease has yet to spread to Vietnam, but precautionary measures should be taken as the country has become a popular destination for a large number of international tourists, including those from African countries, the Vietnamese health ministry said.
On Thursday, the ministry devised three scenarios to cope with the EVD in order to detect the disease quickly, prevent its spread and minimize mortality, in case the deadly virus penetrates into Vietnam in the future.
Accordingly, scenario 1 is the situation in which all concerned agencies will use necessary means to detect early signs of the Ebola virus, if any, so that the affected people can be treated in time, minimizing the spread of the fatal virus.
At the same time, competent agencies will carry out preventive measures against the disease, including the health declaration requirement.
Meanwhile, scenario 2 takes place when the virus begins to penetrate into Vietnam and health agencies will promptly treat patients to avoid mortality, and take measures to prevent the virus from spreading.
In scenario 3, the EVD has spread in Vietnam and competent agencies will mobilize all possible resources to curb the spread of the virus, and continue treating patients effectively to minimize deaths.
Besides setting out these scenarios, the ministry has requested health departments in all provinces and cities to prepare necessary personnel and facilities to cope with the deadly virus effectively.
The ministry also asked its units in all localities to coordinate with other competent bodies to check people, animals, vehicles and goods traveling into Vietnam through border gates.
All people suspected to be infected with the virus must be isolated properly for treatment to prevent its spread, the ministry said.
Through the mass media, local health authorities should keep the public well informed of the disease as well as measures they need to take to protect themselves against the EVD.