The Prime Minister said at a meeting on August 29: "We have set the goal to contain and control the epidemic, but we are also determined that this war is still long, we have to live with the epidemic for a long time, we can't absolutely control it and we must adapt and have a suitable way of doing things: Prevention is basic, long-term strategy, combat is important and regular."

This point of view was made after the Prime Minister analyzed the epidemic situation in the world, noting that even developed countries have increasing cases and their health systems are overloaded, and after his field trip to the southern provinces as the Head of the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.

Bước ngoặt trong tư duy chống dịch Covid-19

PM Pham Minh Chinh during the recent field trip to the southern province of Binh Duong. 

Personally, I strongly agree with this point of view. The Sars-Cov-2 virus will exist indefinitely and continue to produce many unpredictable variants while fully vaccinated people can still contract and transmit the virus. Vietnam’s approach still has to follow the motto of 5K + vaccine + technology. We will have to live with the virus, and when the epidemic is about to peak, threatening the healthcare system, we will impose lockdown.

Many business associations proposed changing the way of thinking and the ways of fighting the epidemic at a recent dialogue with the Government. According to the US-ASEAN Business Council, countries around the world are determined to live with the epidemic for the next few years, even after having covered the entire population with vaccines. Therefore, the blockade cannot be maintained for a long time. This is also the viewpoint of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

The world has had to adjust and adapt to the Delta variant. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 142 countries have recorded Delta variant infections. In just 6 months, the world has added 100 million infection cases caused by the Delta variant, bringing the total number of global Covid-19 infections to more than 200 million in early August.

Australia, which has a similar approach to disease prevention and control as Vietnam, has had a different view. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, while defending the blockade strategy until 70% of the population is fully vaccinated, said it is necessary to shift the focus from the number of infection cases to the rate of hospitalization. He admitted it is difficult to achieve a 'Zero-Covid' goal. Australia implemented social distancing when there were only a few new cases, but every time the blockade was lifted, new cases appeared.

Economic impact

Bước ngoặt trong tư duy chống dịch Covid-19

New thinking and views, as the Prime Minister said, are very important in the next steps to fight the epidemic and develop the economy. Long blockades help limit the spread of disease, and avoid an overloaded health system, but from another angle, they exhaust livelihoods, and disrupt production and circulation chains.

 

More worrying, many localities have taken extreme measures, which have caused disruption of the supply chains. The Prime Minister has had to order local governments to immediately abolish regulations that hinder the circulation of goods and not issue sub-licenses.

It is very important for us to fight the epidemic to save lives, but it is equally important to save people's livelihoods, production and business circulation. That awareness must be unified to avoid unnecessary breakdowns and have an effective strategy in the long-term fight against the virus.

Personalizing anti-epidemic

Based on the Prime Minister's point of view that “this war is still long, we must live with the epidemic for a long time, we cannot control it completely, we must adapt to and have a suitable approach", I think it is necessary to personalize epidemic prevention and control. Each citizen must be identified as a "soldier" against the epidemic, besides other "fortresses" to continue the long and risky road ahead.

Each citizen must improve their awareness and skills in disease prevention to protect themselves and their family as well as the health system. The Ministry of Health and the Government have disseminated rules and experiences for patients to be treated at home.

The policy that allows F0 cases to self-isolate at home should be seriously implemented in some provinces where their healthcare systems are about to be overloaded. Without coming up with worst-case scenarios and getting used to it, how can we deal with a worse situation in a future still full of Covid-19?

Looking to Israel, the world's most vaccinated place and still recording tens of thousands of positive cases every day, the country has accepted to live with the virus. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett pledged that his government considers lockdown as a last resort, only used when there is no other way. "The people of Israel today cannot leave the burden of debt to their descendants," he said.

I think that is the hope, the light at the end of the tunnel for all.

Tu Giang

PM underlines need to prepare for coexisting with COVID-19 pandemic

PM underlines need to prepare for coexisting with COVID-19 pandemic

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, chaired a virtual meeting on Sunday morning to discuss COVID-19 response in 20 localities.