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Jan 29, 2020 / 01:45

Vietnam sets up task force to handle deadly Wuhan coronavirus

Vietnam will temporarily stop granting tourist visas for Chinese of nCoV-infected territories, except urgent cases.

The Vietnamese government has decided to set up a task force in a bid to deal with the possible outbreak of the new coronavirus in the country, which has long borders and bustling economic links with China.

The force, led by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, will consist of representatives from nine ministries, and be tasked with dealing with nCoV-related urgent issues, according to a directive signed by PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc on January 28.

 Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam speaks at a meeting discussing measures to prevent the nCoV on Jan. 28. Photo: VGP

The government will also establish a national steering committee for nCoV prevention, to be led by Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam, who is now in charge of the Ministry of Health.

All hospitals across the country are ordered to draw up contingent plans, treat patients when necessary, and sanitize border gates.

Travel companies are required not to send travellers to or receive tourists from nCoV-hit territories. Chinese tourists in Vietnam will be closely monitored.  

Vietnam will temporarily stop granting tourist visas for Chinese of nCoV-infected territories, except urgent cases.

The novel coronavirus, or nCoV for short, also known as the Wuhan virus, has claimed more than 100 lives in China and more than 4,500 people have contracted the virus, mostly in China. 18 countries and territories have reported the presence of this virus.

In Vietnam, 27 people suspected of carrying the nCoV are waiting for test results. All of them are in quarantine.

Of the two Chinese nationals who were the first confirmed nCov patients in Vietnam, the son, 28, has tested negative while his father is progressing well.

The fact shows that Vietnam’s health sector is totally capable of detecting and successfully treating nCov cases, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son said at a meeting late on Tuesday.

The ministry is considering purchasing more medical supplies for “the worst scenario,” Son said.

DPM Vu Duc Dam asked the Ministry of Health to build more contingent plans, even for the worst scenario in which thousands of people are infected with the nCoV.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on January 27 ordered government agencies to take bolder measures to prevent the spread of the nCoV, even at the expense of economic benefits.

The Ministry of Health on January 28 warned 11 cities and provinces which are popular tourist destinations or share borders with China to carefully screen tourists and locals to prevent a new coronavirus outbreak. They include Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, the northern provinces of Quang Ninh, Lang Son, Lao Cai, Cao Bang, Ha Giang, and Lai Chau, and the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang.