|Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Lien Huong |
The Ministry of Health (MoH) has changed its 5K pandemic message to 2K+ to take into account face masks, disinfection, and other measures. How important is this change to the country’s pandemic prevention and control efforts?
The pandemic is being controlled at present, which has been achieved thanks to the leadership of the Party, the state, the government, and the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, as well as due to the drastic actions from ministries, agencies, and localities.
We have adapted and now control the pandemic in a safe, flexible, and effective manner. In addition, Vietnam has loosened prevention measures and, since April, stopped health declarations at the border gate for people on entry and local travellers, as well as allowed gatherings.
However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the pandemic threat is not over and many new variants can appear. Therefore, we should continue our prevention and control measures, and vaccination is the most effective measure to protect people.
To prevent and control the pandemic, as well as adapt safely and flexibly to create favourable conditions for economic recovery and development, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has assigned the Ministry of Health (MoH) to build communication messages, such as the 2K+ measures of wearing a mask and disinfecting areas. The measures also involve vaccines, medicines, treatment, technology, and people’s awareness, among others.
What are the grounds for this new pandemic prevention and control strategy, and has the MoH consulted with the WHO or others about this?
These prevention recommendations are based on reality, the experience we got over the past two years, the current developments, the need for economic recovery and development, and global integration as well as recommendations from the WHO.
We have gathered ideas and comments from experts, scientists at home and abroad, and ministries, agencies, and cities of our provinces. All have agreed with the 2K+ measure.
We keep masks and disinfection at the top of the list to ensure pandemic prevention and control. We recommend people to wear masks at health facilities, public places, quarantine, and high-risk areas in line with the MoH’s guidance.
With this updated strategy, what are the main differences in Vietnam’s prevention and control scenario from the previous ones?
We are working on two possibilities. In the first, if we continue to control the pandemic and there will be no appearance of new variants, or new variants cause no serious impacts on people’s health and socioeconomic development activities, we will keep the measures as we are doing now.
In the second event, if the pandemic resurges on a large scale out of the control of the health system, or makes a tremendous impact on socioeconomic development activities, we will have measures at a higher level, possibly on several levels. At present, we have guidance for the classification of pandemic levels on four levels.
The global health crisis is still developing complicatedly and unexpectedly because of the risk of new variants. Therefore, we should not be negligent, but strictly follow the measures in line with the MoH’s guidance, as well as those from relevant ministries and agencies.
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