Vietnam Covid-19 Updates (March 4): Nearly 119,000 New Cases Detected
Nearly 119,000 new cases detected, PM proposes considering Covid-19 as an endemic disease
The Health Ministry announced a further 118,790 new Covid-19 patients on March 3 across all 63 cities and provinces, posting an increase of 8,500 cases from the previous day. Hanoi capital led with 18,661 new cases, followed by Nghe An and Bac Ninh with 6,152 and 5,648, respectively.
In the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry reported that an additional 95 patients died, including 20 in Hanoi. The average death toll per day in Vietnam in the last seven days was 95, according to VOV.
During a cabinet meeting held on the same day, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh stated that Vietnam will refer to international experience to take appropriate and effective measures towards normalization with the epidemic, thereby considering Covid-19 as an endemic disease.
He emphasized the need to continue effectively controlling the epidemic and asked the Ministry of Health to accurately assess the situation and study protective antibodies against the virus nationwide.
7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines for children to arrive in Vietnam this month: health official
The Ministry of Health has reached an agreement with Pfizer to set out an estimate and a bidding plan, with the aim to bring 7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines for children to Vietnam within this month, and the remaining 14.9 million in the fourth quarter, Deputy Minister Do Xuan Tuyen said on March 3.
Speaking at the Government’s regular press conference, Tuyen said the Government has issued a resolution on the purchase of the vaccine doses, which will be administered to 11.8 million children aged from five to 11. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has also allowed the ministry to buy the vaccines under a special mechanism in line with Article 26 of the Bidding Law, he added.
95-96 percent of surveyed people approved the vaccination for children of the age group, the Deputy Minister informed. Given the surge of Covid-19 infections triggered by the Omicron variant, Tuyen called on people to continue seriously observing prevention and control regulations, adding it is still too early to consider Covid-19 the seasonal flu, according to VOV.
|Photo: Suc Khoe & Doi Song|
Spokesperson informs press on policy on visa, vaccine passport
Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang informed the press of Vietnam’s policy on visa and mutual recognition of vaccine passports during a regular press conference of the ministry held online on March 3. Foreigners, overseas Vietnamese, and their family members holding eligible documents will be allowed to enter the country in accordance with the Law on Foreigners’ Entry into, Exit from, Transit through, and Residence in Vietnam, Hang said.
Foreigners entering Vietnam for tourism purposes should follow the guidance of a pilot program on receiving foreign tourists by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and Vietnamese nationals can return to Vietnam freely on regular international commercial flights, the spokesperson said.
To help with socio-economic recovery and development, as well as bolster international integration in the new normal, and facilitate trade between Vietnam and countries and territories, the MoFA has submitted a detailed proposal on visa issuance and exemption to the Prime Minister to consider and make a decision. Once the proposal is approved, the ministry will publicize details for all people, enterprises, and foreigners to know, the spokesperson added.
Regarding the recognition of vaccine passports, Hang said as of March 2, Vietnam had reached an agreement with 15 countries and territories, namely Japan, the US, the UK, Australia, India, Belarus, Cambodia, the Philippines, Palestine, the Maldives, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Turkey, and Singapore.
Expiry date of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine extended
The Drug Administration of Vietnam (DAV) under the Ministry of Health has agreed to extend the shelf life of Spikevax (Moderna) Covid-19 vaccine batches imported into the country from March 2. According to a notice issued by the DAV on March 2, the expiry date of the vaccine has been extended from seven to nine months (from the manufacturing date) at the storage condition of -25 to -15 degrees Celsius, applicable to vaccine manufacturing establishments authorized by the Ministry of Health for emergency use.
The decision was made based on the conclusion of the ministry’s Advisory Council for the Registration of Circulation of Drugs and Medicinal Ingredients, the MoH said on March 3, affirming that the adjustment will not affect the quality, safety, and efficiency of the vaccine.
Earlier, the extension of the shelf life of the vaccine was approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on February 9, 2022, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on December 8, 2021, the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) on January 31, 2022, and drug agencies of the UK, Australia, Canada, and Switzerland. The Vietnamese Ministry of Health conditionally approved the vaccine for emergency use in Vietnam on June 28, 2021.
PM orders immediate procedure simplification for Covid-19 drug purchase
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has demanded immediate simplification of administrative procedures for buying Covid-19 medications. He asked the Ministry of Health to give instructions and guidance to immediately streamline administrative procedures for the purchase based on reality and refer to other countries’ experiences to quickly make decisions about Covid-19 drug import and use.
The Government leader also requested enhancing management over drug prices, strictly dealing with drug speculation and smuggling, and creating favorable conditions for people to access and buy Covid-19 drugs.
Earlier, local media reported that when the Covid-19 medications containing the active substance Molnupiravir officially hit the shelves of drugstores, not many people could buy them since they failed to meet related regulations like having patient certificates or doctor's prescriptions.
Epidemiologist Truong Huu Khanh said asking for doctor's prescriptions before selling antiviral drugs is right, but this rule has become too bureaucratic when it comes to Covid-19. He explained that there haven’t been any regulations on which doctors are permitted to make this type of prescription. Meanwhile, it will be too late if people have to wait for local authorities to grant patient certificates as the drug is only used for the first days of infection. Therefore, it is necessary to streamline procedures.
Since the pandemic began last year, the death toll in Vietnam has climbed to 40,547, or 1.1% of all infections, according to VOV.
In the latest wave that hit the country in late April, more than 3.87 million cases have been confirmed, and over 2.54 million of them have recovered from the virus. As of March 2, a total of 376,284 Covid-19 vaccine doses were administered, bringing the total number of inoculated vaccine doses to over 195.6 million.
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