WHO: ‘Vietnam should not consider Covid as a common disease’

WHO representative in Vietnam, Dr. Kidong Park, said that it is possible to end the state of emergency because of the global pandemic this year, but at this time, Covid should not be considered an endemic disease and abandoned 5K.

“Countries need to be ready to transition their response to sustainable Covid-19 control and prepare for the long-term, instead of completely abandoning containment measures by declaring Covid-19 an endemic disease. The country needs to protect the weakest and prevent the health system from being overwhelmed,” Park said VnExpress March 23rd.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recorded a rapid increase in the number of infections in Vietnam since Tet, but most have mild symptoms and recover at home. Rates of severe infections and deaths continue to decline. According to statistics of this organization, Vietnam has about 1.9 million people in isolation, monitoring or treatment, of which more than 4,000 people (about 2.2%) need treatment with means of oxygen support. .

Park said that the rate of serious illness and death in Vietnam continues to decrease, but the number of cases is too high, which can overwhelm the health system despite the low number of severe cases. Therefore, Vietnam epidemic suppression measures should not be eliminated effective from the previous stage such as: 5K, antigen test, PCR and F0 isolation. People need to continue to take simple measures to reduce the risk to themselves, friends and family such as: vaccination, avoiding large gatherings, wearing masks, isolating if positive…

“Although mass testing is no longer necessary at present, it is still advisable to continue testing based on the risk of infection of individuals for isolation, diagnosis and treatment,” Park said.

5K (mask – disinfection – distance – medical declaration – do not gather) is a basic epidemic prevention measure applied by Vietnam since Covid-19 appeared three years ago. The Ministry of Health assessed this as a simple but very effective measure, making a great contribution to the prevention of community infection over the past time.

In the new context, Vietnam’s epidemic prevention strategy shifts to a method of risk management, from objective to control the number of cases luxurious control the number of high-risk, very high-risk hospitalizations and deaths. The Government has also asked the Ministry of Health to study the epidemic situation and consider converting Covid-19 from a group A infectious disease (especially dangerous) to a common disease (group B infectious disease). As for the leaders of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, the 5K measure is no longer appropriate (such as distance, not gathering), suggesting to withdraw to 2K for masks and disinfection.

In this regard, Mr. Park said: “5K should not be abandoned yet, but it is time to prepare for the end of the pandemic. Vietnam and the world have enough tools and methods to do this.”

Dr. Kidong Park, representative of the World Health Organization in Vietnam. Photo: WHO provides

WHO representative in Vietnam recommends that countries need to use comprehensively strategies and tools to chart out the acute phase of the pandemic. The most effective way is still to ensure community immunity through Covid-19 vaccination, especially the high-risk group. In addition, the health system needs to reduce mortality through rigorous clinical treatment, including primary care, equitable allocation of diagnostic resources, oxygen, and antiviral drugs at treatment sites.

“Governments can adjust public health and social measures as needed, learn important lessons, and identify new solutions now, not waiting until the pandemic is over to do so.” there,” said Mr. Park. WHO recommends that each locality consider adjusting social and public health regulations based on the rate of bed vacancy in intensive care units (ICUs), the risk of overloading the health care system; vaccination rate of high-risk groups; capacity to manage infections in health facilities.

On March 23, Vietnam recorded more than 127,000 new infections, the average total number of infections in the past 7 days was 146,192 cases / day, down 7% compared to the average of the previous 7 days. The average number of deaths over the past 7 days was 67, down 10% from the previous 7 day average. The total number of deaths from Covid-19 in Vietnam accounts for 0.5% of the number of infections. The Ministry of Health assessed that although the number of infections increased, the number of deaths per capita decreased steadily.

Thuc Linh


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