Vietnam has enforced sooner than expected a new rule that requires air passengers coming to Vietnam from Ebola-stricken areas in West Africa to fill out health declaration forms upon entry, as the epidemic is getting worse, having killed over 1,000 people so far.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Health began applying the regulation on Monday instead of Friday as earlier announced, Nguyen Tien Hoa, deputy director of the Hanoi International Health Quarantine Center, said yesterday.
Every day, 6,000 to 7,000 international visitors arrive in Hanoi by air, Hoa said
The Ebola virus has affected four West African countries, including Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, he added.
Fifteen Vietnamese are living in Nigeria, 10 of whom are residing in the epidemic-stricken region, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, citing reports from the Vietnamese embassies in the four countries.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ebola virus disease (EVD) is increasingly spreading in these countries, affecting 1,848 people and killing 1,013 of them as of August 11.
Vietnamese Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said Vietnam will consider withdrawing all Vietnamese diplomatic staffers and citizens from the four African countries if the Ebola epidemic becomes more devastating in days ahead.
“Competent agencies will ask Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung for instructions in the event that everything gets worse in coming days,” Long said.
Hoang Duc Hanh, deputy director of the Hanoi Health Department, said that the department has deployed four body temperature sensors at Noi Bai International Airport to detect any passenger with fever.
Two emergency rooms have been set up at the airport and an ambulance is ready to operate there at any time, Hanh said.
The department has also listed five health facilities where people suspected of contracting the deadly virus should be taken, he added.
Ebola is a highly fatal virus that can kill 90 percent of infected people, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health warned, adding that 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.
On August 11, the health ministry’s Preventive Health Center put the National Epidemic Response Center into operation in Hanoi.
The center operates around the clock, collecting and providing updated information about the epidemic at home and abroad, based on which health experts can take timely and effective measures to cope with the disease.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Public Security issued an action plan to deal with the Ebola virus, asking police in all localities bordering China, Laos and Cambodia to cooperate with customs, border guards and health staff to check people entering Vietnam through border gates.