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PM agrees to suspend visa-free entry for OVs from COVID-19 affected countries


March 05, 2020 | 23:21

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has agreed to suspend visa-free entry for overseas Vietnamese (OVs) from countries whose citizens have visa-free entry unilaterally halted, firstly the Republic of Korea (RoK) and COVID-19-hit nations.

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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (standing) speaks at the meeting (Photo: VGP)

That was a recommendation proposed by the national steering committee for preventing and combating the acute respiratory disease cause by novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

According to the national steering committee, the epidemic has spread to 82 countries and territories worldwide. The positive results that Vietnam has gained is just the first step and there remain a big risk of outbreak in the country.

Vietnam has quarantined 92 suspected infection cases. Nearly 16,200 people who had close contact with infected patients or entered Vietnam from epidemic-hit areas have been quarantined and monitored, of them 416 have been quarantined in hospitals.

Chairing a meeting of the cabinet's permanent members in Hanoi on March 5, the PM acknowledged the committee’s achievements in the fight against COVID-19 with no new infection cases recorded over the past 23 days.

Given the complicated developments of the epidemic and the rapid spread of the novel virus in many countries in the world, the Government leader asked administrations at all levels, agencies and sectors to double efforts to combat COVID-19.

He ordered new countermeasures to promptly prevent the spread of the disease through land borders, aviation and the community.

Emphasising the importance of concentrated quarantine solution, PM Phuc asked the Ministry of National Defence and localities to to continue to prepare locations in service of this work.

He also suggested measures to promote business and production and weather difficulties for sectors seriously affected by the epidemic.

The PM asked the health sector to build up plans to arrange human resources in different areas in case of the disease outbreak, while continuously conducting exercises for quick response. He also allowed the Ministry of Health to buy 20 million more face masks for reserve and protective wear to serve the fight against COVID-19./.

Citizen protection in areas affected by the COVID-19 outbreak is one of the top priorities of the Vietnamese Government, the Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang told a regular press conference in Hanoi on March 5.

Hang said the Foreign Ministry and Vietnamese representative agencies have actively and proactively launched measures to support and protect Vietnamese citizens living, studying, working and travelling abroad, especially in epidemic-hit areas.

The Foreign Ministry actively updated information and warned Vietnamese citizens not to travel to affected areas. They also advised Vietnamese people living in the affected areas to follow guidelines and directions by the host authorities, and avoid taking unnecessary trips.

In coordination with ministries, agencies and localities, the Foreign Ministry directed Vietnamese representative agencies abroad to work closely with the host authorities, asked Vietnamese embassies to regularly provide news about efforts on disease prevention and control, ensuring that medical care will be provided for infected persons and mitigating issues that negatively impact Vietnamese citizens.

Vietnamese representative agencies abroad have launched hotlines round-the-clock, particularly in affected areas to offer instructions and stay ready to support citizens if necessary, she said.

As for infected Vietnamese citizens abroad, Vietnamese representative agencies are required to regularly contact and ask the host authorities to offer treatment. At present, Vietnamese patients are in stable conditions.

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