Vietnam strengthens Covid measures as Lunar New Year approaches

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Hanoi, Jan 9 (IANS) Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has ordered strengthening Covid-19 prevention and control in the country as the Lunar New Year is approaching with several festivals expected to be held, local media reported on Monday.

Though the pandemic has been basically brought under control, it still develops in a complicated way with new variants emerging including XBB, he said in a statement.

The Prime Minister ordered the Ministry of Health continue to closely monitor the pandemic situation, coordinate with relevant authorities to proactively respond to developments of the pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Ministry should also cooperate with local and international experts and organisations to adjust the Covid-19 prevention and control measures when needed, he said.

It must also coordinate with localities to promptly detect and handle outbreaks, prevent the spread in the community as well as prevent and minimize the number of hospitalizations and deaths while accelerating the Covid-19 vaccination program.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is requested to coordinate with competent authorities to instruct services providers to take preventive measures to ensure safety for tourists and local people, and closely monitor the organisation of events and festivals during and after the Lunar New Year holiday, he ordered.

As of Monday morning, the country had reported a total of 11,525,763 cases, of which more than 92 per cent have recovered, and 43,186 deaths, according to the country’s Health Ministry.

More than 265.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered.

Vietnam has recorded Covid-19 infections with Omicron BA.4, BA.5, BA.2.12.1, BA.2.74 and XBB sub-variants.

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