He made the request while chairing a meeting of permanent Government members on pandemic prevention and control work held in Hanoi on February 15, in response to complicated developments recorded in several localities nationwide.

The PM also required accelerating the research and production of domestic vaccine.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc addresses the event.

He assigned the Health Ministry to decide options, partners and types of imported vaccines; identify priority subjects for vaccination; and coordinate with the Finance Ministry in arranging needed financial sources.

Lauding prompt and drastic efforts made by the health sector and many localities since January 27 to date, he underscored the fact that necessary social distancing measures have been implemented while thousands of medical personnel have been sent to COVID-19 flashpoints.

However, the situation remains complicated with a number of pandemic-hit areas like Hai Duong and Hanoi yet to curb their local outbreaks, Phuc noted.

The Government leader highlighted the need of more drastic implementation of his Directive 05 on urgent COVID-19 prevention and control measures, particularly in quickly zoning off outbreaks, larger scale testing, and speedy contact tracing.

He agreed to proposals to halt the organization of festivals and activities of mass gatherings, and told the Ministry of Education and Training to coordinate with localities to carry out online teaching in some localities.

At the meeting

He ordered restriction to Lunar New Year visits and travel in the first lunar month and strict adherence to COVID-19 prevention measures, particularly wearing masks in public areas, with stricter sanction of violations.

The PM ordered localities to re-conduct COVID-19 testing for foreign experts and tightly manage quarantine sites to avoid cross infections, with the military tasked with managing these sites.

He approved the enforcement of social distancing under Directive 16 in the entire Hai Duong province, adding that Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City can implement the measure in high-risk areas.

Ensuring food security, promoting local farm produce consumption, and tight monitoring of entry-exit activities are also necessary, according to PM Phuc.

In the past 12 hours to 6pm on February 15, 40 cases of COVID-19 were recorded, raising the national count to 2,269, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

Among the new cases, 38 are in Hai Duong province and two in Hanoi.

Source: VNA