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Jun 04, 2023 / 19:59

Covid-19 meets criteria for influenza status in Vietnam: PM

The Covid-19 situation in Vietnam remains under control, with most new cases having mild or no symptoms, and the healthcare system is not overwhelmed.

Covid-19 has met the criteria to be downgraded to flu-like status in Vietnam, said Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, who is also head of the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control

"It means we can downgrade Covid-19 from its current Class A infectious disease to Class B," the PM said at a governmental meeting on June 3.

Vietnam classifies infectious diseases into three classes, A, B, and C, based mainly on severity. Group A includes hazardous infections that can spread quickly and widely, have high mortality rates, or have an unknown cause.

Class B includes dangerous infectious diseases that are rapidly transmissible and potentially lethal, including some diseases such as adenovirus, AIDS, tuberculosis, mumps, malaria, measles, smallpox, typhus, rubella, and Zika.

And Class C includes infectious diseases that are less dangerous and do not spread quickly, such as chlamydia. The Ministry of Health (MoH) has the authority to revise the list of infectious diseases in each class.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh chairs the 20th meeting of the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control on June 3. Photo: VGP

The Government leader cited the World Health Organization's report that Covid-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, the designation given to the viral disease more than three years ago, but the pandemic is not over.

"The Covid-19 situation in Vietnam is still under control, most new cases have mild or no symptoms, and the health care system is not under strain. People with underlying health problems, the elderly, the unvaccinated, and those with weakened immune systems continue to be the most severe and fatal cases," Chinh added.

The Prime Minister stressed that Vietnam has already moved to a flexible, safe and effective adaptation and control of the Covid-19 strategy since the end of 2021 thanks to the high vaccination rate. 

Over the past time, Vietnam has reallocated resources to aid economic recovery thanks to its good prevention and control of the Covid-19 pandemic.   

Flexible plans for new situation

Health Minister Dao Hong Lan told the meeting that the WHO has not yet declared the end of the pandemic and is still advising countries to move cautiously from emergency response to sustainable, long-term disease control strategies.

Vaccination for students in Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi. Photo: Thai San/ The Hanoi Times 

"It is crucial to prioritize disease surveillance, personal prevention, vaccination, communication and protection of vulnerable groups," Lan said.

She stressed the need to closely monitor the epidemiological situation to make appropriate responses without being taken by surprise. This will help control the disease in all situations while minimizing costs and protecting people's health and rights.

According to MoH statistics, Vietnam has recorded more than 11.6 million coronavirus infections, with over 10.6 million recoveries. More than 43,200 deaths have been attributed to Covid-19, representing 0.4% of the total number of cases.

Currently, the rate of hospitalization of Covid-19 vaccine patients is lower than that of some group B infectious diseases, and the rate of severe cases is equal to or lower than that of some group B infectious diseases such as dengue fever and hand-foot-mouth disease. More than 266.4 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered nationwide.

"The MoH has been asked to lead other ministries, sectors, and localities to review prevention and control work, adjust relevant legal documents to the new situation, make plans to sustainably control Covid-19 in the new period as well as other epidemics that are likely to appear, and continue proper coronavirus vaccination," said Minister Lan.