Sep 22, 2021 / 22:54

Today’s Covid News: Vietnam likely to spend US$1.7 billion on pandemic fight

Most of the spending will be used for vaccine purchases.

Vietnam might need an amount of VND40 trillion (US$1.74 billion) for the fight against Covid-19 in the time to come.

 AstraZeneca, the first vaccine approved in Vietnam. Photo: UNICEF

The money would be used to buy the vaccine and medical equipment, the news was released today [Sept 22] by Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phoc who also said that the government spent VND18.35 trillion ($797 million) on the Covid-19 fight in the first eight months this year.

Today, the National Assembly (NA), the highest legislative body, agreed to transfer VND14.6 trillion ($635 million) from the 2021 savings for the anti-pandemic missions this year.

Earlier, the Ministry of Health estimated that Vietnam needs VND28.5 trillion ($1.23 billion) to purchase 170 million doses of vaccines. To date, the country still needs VND16 trillion ($695 million).

In another move, the government today approved to import of an 20 million doses of Vero Cell/Sinopharm vaccine. A few days ago, it decided to buy 10 million doses of the Cuban Abdala vaccine and 30 million doses of Hayat-Vax, the Sinopharm vaccine packaged in the UAE.

As being defined as one of the key measures in the pandemic fight, vaccination now becomes crucial to Vietnam. In the latest move, the Ministry of Health requires localities to speed up the inoculation of women who are 13 weeks pregnant and more to mitigate fatalities when they get infected with the virus.

Vietnam saw additional 11,527 coronavirus cases and 236 deaths over the past 24 hours. Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong account for 92% and 83%, respectively. To date, they are the two most affected areas with respective 353,000 and 187,000 infections.

 Armed forces before leaving Hanoi for the anti-pandemic mission in HCMC. Photo: Khanh Huy/ The Hanoi Times

Ho Chi Minh City

An army officer of the Ministry of National Defense has told the media that 4,000 soldiers, including a large number of military medics, will be sent to Ho Chi Minh City in the coming time. On Sept 21, 800 of them went there for the pandemic fight.

The soldiers will support the contact tracing, testing, and treatment of Covid-19 patients.

The force will be much of help for Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)’s massive testing in high-risk areas that target to complete the mission at the end of this month.

Since the largest city enforced the shelter-in-place ruling a month ago, the army has sent 34,000 soldiers, 98,000 militiamen, and 6,000 military medics to assist authorities in the hot spot.

HCMC has brought the pandemic under control in some areas like District 7, Cu Chi, Can Gio, and Nha Be Districts. For that reason, the city’s leaders are planning the resumption of economic activities.

On Sept 22, the city’s Party chief Nguyen Van Nen said it is building a strategy for the new normal that will cover 11 fields including healthcare, social welfare, and production. Of which, he stressed the importance to the public and preventive healthcare systems.

To take full use of the private sector in the pandemic fight, the city’s health sector has recommended some mechanisms for their operations in the drive. Accordingly, private hospitals are expected to charge fees for treating Covid-19 patients instead of free-of-charge treatment or minimum payment as regulated.

So far, Vietnam has pursued a policy that the government offers free-of-charge treatment to people who are infected with SARS-CoV-2.

 Hanoi street is crowded again after relaxation. Photo: Khanh Huy/ The Hanoi Times 

Hanoi

The capital city entered the second day after relaxing restrictions.

However, the crowd gatherings in the downtown last night as people flocked to the central parts on the occasion of the Mid-Autumn Festival (Children’s Festival) have triggered concerns over the widespread transmission.

Associate Prof. Tran Dac Phu, a senior advisor to the Vietnam Public Health Emergency Operations Center (PHEOC), told The Hanoi Times that the move might cause the resurgence of the virus as people violated the 5K-measure principle (masking – disinfection – distance – no gathering – medical declaration) required by the Ministry of Health.

“It’s really hard for the authorities to trace contacts of people who joined the gatherings last night in case somebody among them with the Delta variant infected others,” the expert said.

It’s very costly to cope with the pandemic one more time in the same way that Hanoi conducted in the past time. It means that the city might need to again impose social distancing measures and it would trouble locals and dishearten businesses, he noted.

He called on the people who went out last night should monitor their health and consult health workers once having symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Nguyen Van Phong, the city’s deputy Party chief, said people apparently violated precautionary measures. Relaxing restrictions does not mean gathering in crowds. The city’s anti-pandemic achievements might be threatened because of the carelessness.

 Covid-19 infections in Vietnam. Source: MoH. Chart: Minh Vu