Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh directed the health ministry to begin the process of moving the country to the course of living with Covid-19 and treating it as endemic even as cases surge.
Prime Minister ordered officials during March 3 cabinet meeting to study how other countries have made the move, according to a post on the government’s website. The prime minister said March and coming months will continue to be difficult and unpredictable as the country battles the virus and the fallout from the conflict in Ukraine.
Given the emergence of various COVID-19 variants globally, including Omicron, many experts believe that achieving the goal of herd immunity to eradicate the disease is difficult, and COVID-19 may be approaching the endemic disease stage.
Vietnam recorded 118,790 virus cases, including 10 imported, on Thursday, an increase of 8,500 from a day earlier, according to latest report on the website of health ministry.
The country, which is rolling out booster shots after more than 90% of its adult population has been given two vaccine shots, has seen a dramatic drop in Covid-19 deaths.
It has had a daily average of 95 deaths over the past seven days, according to the health ministry’s publication Suc Khoe Doi Song.
In August, when the government locked down large parts of the nation with evening curfews, daily virus deaths hit more than 300, the Bloomberg reported.
COVID-19 no longer global health emergency
Herd immunity is widely viewed as a lifeline to end the pandemic in the long run. Humankind has at least once achieved herd immunity, with smallpox being eradicated thanks to vaccine development. However, in the case of COVID-19, experts are of the opinion that herd immunity is unlikely as the pandemic is entering its third year.
Dr. Anna Blakney of the University of British Columbia in Canada admitted that despite certain gains, it was still hard to even consider achieving the herd immunity target due to the constant emergence of mutation of the virus.
Theoretically, the pandemic can be considered over when experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that COVID-19 is no longer classified as a global health emergency. Despite this, the criteria for making this decision has yet to be precisely defined.
While waiting for the WHO to come to a conclusion, politicians and public health experts in countries which boast high vaccination coverage are promoting a new approach to COVID-19, with many regarding the disease as part of life.
For example, Thai health authorities hold the view that the COVID-19 outbreak has basically been brought control and the disease is now not too serious, especially when people have received full vaccine doses. They are therefore working toward declaring COVID-19 as an endemic disease according to their own set of criteria, as opposed to waiting for the disease to naturally become endemic as it may take longer, according to a report on VOV.