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Vietnam closely monitors disease situation amid global COVID-19 reemergence

Hanoi: The Ministry of Health's Department of Preventive Medicine on January 16 asked localities nationwide to keep a close watch on the disease situation in the face of complex developments of infectious diseases, especially respiratory ones, around the world. In December 2023, nearly 10,000 deaths from COVID-19 were reported worldwide while the number of hospitalised cases surged 42% from the previous month. New variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have continuously changed, and sub-variant JN.1 is spreading rapidly around the globe, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The US, China, and some European countries have recorded the re-emergence of COVID-19 infections as well as the transmission of other respiratory illnesses like seasonal flu and respiratory syncytial virus. In Vietnam, the northern region is now in the transitional period between winter and spring, when cold and dry weather is alternated with wet weather, triggering infectious diseases, especially respiratory ones. Meanwhil e, the numbers of cases suffering from other infectious diseases like dengue fever, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, and some others which have already had vaccines have also been on the rise in many places, the department pointed out. It warned that the coming Lunar New Year (Tet) holidays and spring festive season, when trading and travel demand surges, along with abnormal weather changes are favourable conditions for diseases to spread, particularly among children with weak immunity and the elderly with comorbidities, who are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Given this, the Department of Preventive Medicine asked provincial-level departments of health to propose their provinces and cities' administrations soon issue plans on infectious disease prevention and control for 2024. They were also told to engage all local sectors and socio-political organisations in the work, especially during Tet. In particular, local health departments were demanded to order grassroots health units like disease control ce ntres and preventive medicine bodies keep a close watch on the disease situation and the increase in infections of respiratory illnesses and severe cases of viral pneumonia. They need to maintain constant monitoring to detect infections early so as to make timely response, control transmission, and minimise severe cases and deaths, the Department of Preventive Medicine added, requesting the expanded programme on immunisation be properly maintained./. Source: Vietnam News Agency

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