Large gatherings of people sit at sidewalk cafes in Hanoi chatting without wearing masks and maintaining a safe distance.
Hanoi considers non-essential services ban as COVID-19 cases surge
The Hanoi municipal administration is considering restrictions on non-essential services amid a skyrocketing number of coronavirus infections in the community.
The COVID-19 outbreak remains complicated in the capital city as hundreds of new cases have been confirmed on a daily basis in almost all districts over the past few days.
Data unveiled by the Hanoi Centre for Diseases Control show 791 people were diagnosed with the virus on December 3, a record high figure since the start of the outbreak. December 6 also saw 776 confirmed, with nearly half of them detected in the community.
The municipal administration on December 6 requested its districts to review COVID-19-19 developments and adjust prevention and control measures based on the COVID-19 four-alert levels adopted by the Ministry of Health.
It is considering suspending non-essential services such as food services, events with large gatherings of people among others if the daily number of new virus infections keeps rising.
Since the city moved into a new normal, many outbreaks have occurred in the community with unknown clusters of infections. Worryingly, large numbers of local people show apathy toward disease prevention and control.
Indeed, many coffee shops and food eateries have neglected COVID-19 guidelines by opening late and not requesting customers to sit apart. Similarly, trading centres have been crowded with visitors and shoppers on weekends paying no heed to regulations on maintaining a safe distance.
People think that by having received two doses of the vaccine, they can safely travel without getting infection anymore, according to a health official.
In addition, many sidewalk cafes have reopened, attracting large numbers of drinkers gathering in groups and chatting without wearing masks or complying with other regulations.
Assoc. Prof. & Dr. Tran Dac Phu, former director of the Preventive Medicine Department under the Ministry of Health, pointed out that when life returns to normal, people have to accept living with the virus.
However, he warned a sharp increase in infection numbers shows many people have not strictly followed epidemic prevention recommendations, including the 5K message.
“It is imperative to control the number of new infections, especially critically ill cases, otherwise it will overload the health system,” he said.
Along with complying with COVID-19 guidelines, Phu said vaccinations should be accelerated, especially among high-risk groups such as the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.
“We should also be highly vigilant against the intrusion of the newly mutated variant Omicron which is spreading across the globe including Southeast Asia,” the health professional warned.
Hanoi rolls out drastic COVID-19 fight measures amid rising infection number
The People’s Committee of Hanoi has issued a document guiding COVID-19 prevention and control measures amid the rising number of infections in recent days.
Under the document, the committee asked the People’s Committees of districts and towns to direct relevant forces to promptly launch mobile medical stations to receive, quarantine, manage and give treatment to COVID-19 patients following guidance from the city and Ministry of Health.
Localities were requested to form community-based teams to support the supervision of COVID-19 patients at home to ease pressure on mobile medical stations.
The city People’s Committee directed localities to providing training and guidance for the teams in monitoring the health of COVID-19 patients at home. The city Health Department was assigned to ask local hospitals to give professional guidelines to the mobile medical stations.
Meanwhile, home quarantine for F1s will be continued in line with instructions from the Ministry of Health.
Localities were allowed to make adjustments and supplementation to administrative measures in pandemic prevention and control in different pandemic levels, including the restrictions and suspension of unnecessary services, including restaurants, and mass gatherings depending on the developments of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, districts and towns were requested to coordinate with the municipal Department of Transport to coordinate and transport COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms, samples and F1s to quarantine and treatment facilities./.