WHO DECLARED COVID-19 A PANDEMIC
Late on 11 March ICT, Reuters quoted the World Health Organization's Executive Director, Mike Ryan, using the word "pandemic" to describe the coronavirus outbreak, and this "does not change what we do with virus".
Up to this point, coronavirus cases have been reported in 124 countries and territories.
Italy has 12,462 confirmed cases of the virus in the morning of March 12, an increase of 2,313 cases compared to the previous day. At the same time, Iran recorded 9,000 cases of Covid-19, an increase of 958 cases compared to March 11.
CORONAVIRUS HAS BEEN MUTATED, VIETNAM IMPROVES PREVENTION MEASURES
In a meeting on March 11, chaired by Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam, a report by the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Epidemic Prevention identified four cases of mutated coronavirus in Italy which different from the strain of the virus identified in Wuhan, China.
In addition, Vietnam also noted that Patient No. 17 (who arrived in Italy before returning to Vietnam) and Patient No. 20 (who had been infected by Patient No. 17) had a clear manifestation of pneumonia (including interstitial pneumonia) and their manifestations are worse than UK patients (who have faint symptoms).
Facing the above situation, the Steering Committee members agreed to strictly control the entry to Vietnam. Accordingly, all people who enter Vietnam (including Vietnamese citizens and foreigners) must have compulsory medical declarations. False health declarations will be fined and prosecuted.
Vietnamese airlines require passengers to wear masks during the journey; and foreign airlines recommend airports to issue masks for free to passengers.
In order to strictly manage transit passengers in Vietnam, international airports are required to arrange separate areas for transit passengers to rest and go shopping. Suspected cases must not allowed to go through the entry. All public transportation drivers (especially taxi drivers) must wear masks.
ARMY MAPS OUT SCENARIO TO FIGHT COVID-19 OUTBREAK AT FIVE LEVELS
At a meeting, the Ministry of National Defence’s Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control said that the army would develop a COVID-19 prevention and control plan based on a scenario for the outbreak at five levels in a bid to effectively deal with the epidemic.
The five levels are: (i) Level 1: COVID-19 infected patients enter Viet Nam from affected areas; (ii) Level 2: Secondary COVID-19 transmission is reported in the country; (iii) Level 3: The number of COVID-19 patients reaches between over 20 and 1,000; (iv) Level 4: The epidemic spreads widely in the community with over 1,000 to 3,000 infection cases; (v) Level 5: The epidemic spreads widely in the community with over 3,000 to 30,000 infected people, and has spread into some military units.
CON DAO, QUANG NINH TEMPORARILY SUSPEND SEVERAL TOURISM SERVICES
From March 12 to March 27, Quang Ninh will pause all overnight service on the bay and stop to welcome visitors to Ha Long, Bai Tu Long and Co To and Van Don islands; as well as stop the operation of famous historical relics in the province.
In Ba Ria - Vung Tau, the provincial People's Committee also agreed to suspend the sightseeing activities to relics and ecotourism sites in Con Dao area until further notice. Accordingly, the Department of Culture and Sports of the province asked the Con Dao National Monuments Conservation Center to suspend the visit of the monuments and the Con Dao National Park Management Board to make a temporary suspension of ecotourism.
MISS VIETNAM 2020 BEAUTY PAGEANT POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19
Miss Vietnam 2020 media representative confirmed to postpone the beauty pageant this year due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Previously, the contest is scheduled to run between May and August with different rounds to select the winner as well as the first and second runners-up. The press conference was scheduled for this March. However, amid concerns over coronavirus, the organizers have decided to postpone the contest without announcing when the pageant could be held again.
CHINA DEVELOPS ROBOT FOR THROAT SWAB SAMPLING
The Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Health and the Shenyang Institute of Automation under the Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed an intelligent robot to conduct throat swab sampling for the diagnosis of COVID-19, to reduce cross-infection risks for medical workers.
The robot consists of a snake-shaped mechanical arm, a binocular endoscope, wireless transmission equipment and a human-computer interaction terminal. The robot has collected 80 throat swab samples since it was put into operation in Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Health on February 28.
Test results showed that the robotic throat swab sampling could achieve high quality, with a one-time success rate of more than 95 percent. It can also help ease pain and reduce the damage to patients during the sampling process.
INFECTIONS INCREASE IN EUROPE
The number of cases across Europe has risen to more than 22.000 with 930 deaths, according to an AFP tally.
According to a notification on March 11 by the France’s Health Ministry, there were 2,281 cases of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection, an increase of 497 people in 24 hours. Currently, France is still at stage 2 of the epidemic because it has not yet spread to the whole country.
In Belgium, the Health Ministry reported 314 Covid-19 cases, up from 267 previously, and 3 died.
In Sweden, the latest notice said the number of Covid-19 cases had reached 652, an increase of 155 in just one day. The Swedish government has banned all activities involving 500 or more participants. Violators will be fined or jailed for 6 months.
With the same growth rate as Sweden, Spain currently has 2,277 cases, Greece recorded nearly 2,000 cases.
US Ban all travel from Europe
In the morning of March 12, US President Donald Trump announced a sweeping ban on travelers from Europe to the US for 30 days, beginning on March 13. The restrictions do not apply to Britain. "To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days," Trump said.
President Donald Trump is also considering a national emergency after 23 states declared a state of emergency.
INDIA CANCELS ALL TOURIST VISAS
Immediately after WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, India suspends all tourist visas in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The order will come into effect from March 13 to April 15. However, there are exceptions for diplomatic, official, U.N./international organizations, employment, project visas.
UN CALLS FOR 33 MILLION USD TO PROTECT REFUGEES
On March 10, the UN made an urgent appeal Tuesday for tens of millions of USD to help protect vulnerable refugees against the spread of the deadly new coronavirus.
34 of the more than 100 countries affected by the global COVID-19 outbreak host refugee populations of over 20000 people, at risk of the virus spreading among refugees.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it is urgently seeking an initial USD 33 million “to boost the preparedness, prevention and response activities to address the immediate public health needs of refugees prompted by COVID-19.”