While the Covid-19 situation remains unpredictable and unstable, an announcement of its ending in Vietnam may lead to negligence, making people unprepared for new strains, the health ministry said.
Phan Trong Lan, head of the ministry’s General Department of Preventive Medicine, said Tuesday Vietnam would face two challenges if it announces the pandemic is over.
First, in the scenario where a dangerous Covid-19 strain arises, it could lead to more severe cases and deaths, eventually overwhelming the capabilities of the medical system.
“When we announce the Covid-19 outbreak to be over, certain mechanisms and policies in the Covid-19 fight would no longer be applied, for example the research, production, purchase and approval of vaccine, drugs and medical products… under emergency state, which affects the deployment of Covid-19 prevention measures,” Lan said.
Secondly, the mobilization of society segments on multiple levels to fight Covid-19 would no longer receive the level of attention it needs, he said. Therefore, people may get complacent, and the reactivation of certain administrative and social measures for Covid-19 prevention would be more difficult than it should be, he added.
Lan was speaking in response to doctor Nguyen Lan Hieu’s suggestion that Vietnam should declare an end of Covid-19 in the country to save medical resources.
At a National Assembly session on Saturday, Hieu, director of the Hanoi Medical University Hospital, requested that the government announce a shift in its Covid-19 fight, introducing clear policies to replace old ones.
Lan said it’s not time yet.
The Covid-19 situation around the world is still developing in a complex manner, and immunity gained either through infection or vaccination is waning over time. The coronavirus is also mutating, creating new variants that could be more infectious and more likely to evade the immune system, he said.
The Emergency Committee of the WHO said on October 13 that the Covid-19 pandemic is still happening around the world, and countries are advised to ramp up their monitoring systems, as well as expanding treatment capacities and vaccine coverage.
Vietnam is a responsible member of the WHO, and its effective Covid-19 fighting measures have contributed to the efforts of the global community in stopping the coronavirus, Lan said.
For over a year, the Ministry of Health has lessened its Covid-19 prevention measures to make room for socio-economic growth. The situation is put under control and prevention measures have adapted to the “new normal” period. Vietnam currently records around 500 new cases a day on average, and the number of active severe cases is around 70.
Tran Dac Phu, senior advisor at the Public Health Emergency Operations Center, said Vietnam is performing a safe adaptation plan, and the main mission is to accurately assess risks.
“Too much control would lead to inappropriate investments… affecting the economy and social security,” he said, adding that the stance on Covid-19 prevention nowadays is “neither too much nor too little.”
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