Nov 09, 2021 / 16:28

Vietnam's lawmakers propose holding national mourning for Covid-19 victims

Covid-19 claimed more than 22,500 lives in Vietnam in the latest outbreak that flared up in late April.

Vietnamese lawmakers at the ongoing parliament plenum have proposed national mourning for the people who died of Covid-19, claiming that the losses are “enormous”.

 Lawmaker Nguyen Anh Tri suggests a national mourning day for Covid-19 victims. Photos: Quochoi

Lawmaker Nguyen Anh Tri from Hanoi, former head of the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT), put forth the idea at the Monday plenary session of the National Assembly (NA)’s sitting, which will last for three weeks starting on October 20.

Tri said a national mourning day is necessary as the number of more than 22,500 deaths are “too many” while Covid-claimed deceases suffered pain without being accompanied by relatives before leaving this life. The remembrance reminds others of the severe fight against Covid-19.

The fatality rate out of the infections in Vietnam is 2.4% compared to the world’s average of 2.04%. Vietnam ranks 6th among 11 Southeast Asian countries for the number of deaths.

“Organizing a national day for them is a gesture of humanity and benevolence true to   Vietnam’s tradition,” Tri said.

“The National Day of Mourning is also to remind us of being more careful about the Covid-19 pandemic and more determined and united in this difficult fight,” he added.

Earlier, lawmaker Nguyen Huu Thong made the same suggestion, saying that the government should make April 27 the Remembrance Day. He said it’s the common wish of his constituents.

Covid-19 impact

April 27 is the day marking the resurgence of the fourth Covid-19 wave in Vietnam. Since then, the pandemic has ravaged 62 out of 63 cities and provinces, with the majority detected in Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s business hub.

The fresh outbreak marks the dominance of the Delta variant, putting brakes on production in almost all urban areas of the country.

According to the government’s report at the NA session, Covid-19 has caused more than 970,000 infections since early 2020, including 99% in the fourth wave.

When the outbreak reached its peak in June and August, the combined strengths from the health sector, transport, youth union, and especially armed forces were mobilized to cope with it.

According to Major General Phan Van Xung, the army has dispatched 133,000 soldiers, including 99,000 militiamen, to Ho Chi Minh City and southern localities, among them, about 10,000 military medics, to build makeshift hospitals, assist the testing, vaccination, treatment, providing necessities, and cremation of the deceased.

 Lawmaker Nguyen Lan Hieu at the National Assembly's session on Oct 9.

A broader approach to overcome difficulties

With an aim to better cope with the unexpected Covid-19 pandemic, lawmaker Nguyen Lan Hieu, director of the Hanoi Medical University Hospital, stressed the importance of taking care of vulnerable groups like the elderly, people with underlying diseases, and pregnant women.

Protecting medical facilities and nursing homes ranks second in the priority list, according to Hieu’s speech at the Tuesday session.

Hieu, who is a famous doctor and directed the treatment of Covid-19 patients in the manufacturing hub of Binh Duong, the second most-affected area behind Ho Chi Minh City, pointed out the second focus on his five-point list is unifying Covid apps to support the detection, quarantine, and treatment of Covid-19 patients.

The socioeconomic reopening must be based on medical advice so the massive quarantine is no longer necessary.

The health sector needs to invest at the grassroots level and healthcare must be included in the 2022 socio-economic development program, he said.  

For long-term goals, it requires proper policies for the health sector to both tackle problems and improve its capacity, Hieu emphasized.

Meanwhile, lawmaker Thich Thanh Quyet called for support to children orphaned by Covid-19, saying that the government needs combined policies to help them in the long run.

Regarding teaching in the pandemic, Quyet said the education sector needs effective methods for online learning and cutting unnecessary programs to ease pressure on them.

Sharing the same idea, lawmaker Nguyen Huu Chinh from Hanoi expressed concerns about prolonged online learning that is both ineffective and troublesome in some areas, mainly suburban.

To minimize the impact caused by Covid-19, he said the government needs to issue both short- and long-term policies to assist businesses to help them catch up with the recovery pace.

Lawmaker Nguyen Thanh Long at the NA session. 

Vaccination

To help the country better cope with the pandemic, most lawmakers have highlighted the role of vaccination, saying that vaccine resilience will enable the country to pursue recovery plans and be proactive in the pandemic fight.

According to Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long, Vietnam has received 125 million doses of vaccines out of 200 million secured to supply the country.

So far, more than 90 million doses have been administered, covering 84% of adults aged above 18 with the first shots and 40% of them double dosed.

Vietnam ranked 20th worldwide and the second in Southeast Asia in the number of doses administered. It is among the three countries having the fastest immunization pace.

Notably, Vietnam is developing two homegrown Covid-19 vaccines with one at phase 2 and one at phase 3 clinical trials: Nanocovax developed by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC and Covivac by Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC).