Speaking at a meeting between permanent Cabinet members and representatives of ministries and agencies in Hanoi, PM Phuc said the virus is rapidly sweeping over the world.
“We must stay calm and resolutely protect the public's health,” he said, urging localities and agencies to outline their own countermeasures.
The PM stressed the need to completely ban travelling via border-to-border trails and suspend the sending of Vietnamese labourers to China from which the deadly virus is originated.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should soon work with the Chinese side to bring Vietnamese workers in the country home, he said.
Tours to China, and vice versa, must also be banned, he said, adding that trading activities at border gates are not encouraged at this time.
PM Phuc asked the army, public security forces and the health sector to closely supervise passengers going through border gates.
Those from China must be kept under quarantine within 15 days – the estimated incubation period of the new virus. Besides, wildlife trading – the source of transmission - must be completely prohibited, he said.
As Vietnam holds the ASEAN Chairmanship, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should raise voice to create high consensus in the grouping in the fight against the disease, the PM noted.
Local steering committees for prevention and control of nCoV would help improve the efficiency of the combat, he suggested.
The leader asked the media to consider the fight against nCoV a political task, and the Health Ministry to coordinate with the Ministry of Justice to make legal preparations once the World Health Organisation (WHO) announces the nCoV emergency status.
At the meeting, Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen reported that as of 15:20 on January 30, three people had tested positive for nCoV, raising the total cases in the country to five.
One of the three is being treated at the General Hospital of the central province of Thanh Hoa, while two are under treatment at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases. All are Vietnamese nationals and returned from China’s Wuhan city where the virus was first identified.
According to the Health Ministry, as of 12:00 the same day, 7,819 cases of nCoV infections had been confirmed in 19 countries and territories worldwide, with the death toll climbing to 170, including 162 in Wuhan.
In response to the PM’s directive, the Health Ministry has asked all provincial hospitals to set up emergency teams and map out countermeasures, while preparing medical equipment and medicines.
The ministry suggested establishing five working groups to inspect the prevention and control of nCoV in localities, focusing on areas at high risk of being affected by the disease.