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HCM City issues quarantine procedure for arrivals in face of Omicron

HCM City People’s Committee has just issued urgent guidelines for a five-step quarantine procedure for arriving passengers amid the emergence of the Omicron variant in Vietnam.

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Arriving passengers at Tan Son Nhat International Airport. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hang

According to the document, the self-quarantine area (including homes, hotels, offices, dormitories, guest houses) must meet the standards required by the Ministry of Health.

If the accommodation fails to meet these criteria, incoming passengers will have to go into centralised quarantine facilities.

The document also states that passengers arriving in Vietnam at Tan Son Nhat International Airport must comply with a five-step procedure as follows:

Step 1: Register a ‘Personal QR code’, which can be created using the PC-COVID app or the HCM City COVID-19 Safety Portal at https://antoan-covid.tphcm.gov.vn.

It is advised that passengers should register for the code before boarding their plane to Vietnam.

Step 2: Test for SARS-CoV-2 immediately upon arrival

Tan Son Nhat International Airport will set up a rapid-testing area for SARS-CoV-2, and coordinate with international airlines to instruct people to test for the coronavirus at the airport. The ‘Personal QR code’ will be used to provide information to the testing unit. 

If the result is positive, the passenger will be taken for RT-PCR testing. HCM City Centre for Disease Control (CDC) will work with the 115 Emergency Centre to transport the patients to field hospitals for quarantine and treatment.

If the test result is negative, the airport and the airlines will guide the person to continue with the procedure to leave the airport for their residence.

Step 3: After arriving at the accommodation, passengers must strictly comply with the 5K regulations

The transporting vehicle must only include the driver and the passenger. In the case when there are people who come to pick up the passengers, they must not sit in the same vehicle (except for when the arrival is a foreigner who needs an interpreter).

The transporting vehicles for passengers must refrain from stopping and parking along the route. In case of emergency when the vehicle needs to pull up, safety measures for COVID-19 prevention and control must be taken. 

Step 4: Monitor and declare health conditions on a daily basis

The place of accommodation must register the new arrivals’ ‘Personal QR Codes’ immediately upon arrival. Health declarations and confirmation of accommodation must be reported on a daily basis during the quarantine period.

New arrivals must also practise the 5K measures. If they experience symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever, difficulty in breathing, sore throat), they must immediately report to the local medical centre for treatment.

Regarding the period of quarantine:

For arriving passengers who are fully inoculated or recovered from COVID-19, they must monitor their own health status, refrain from coming into contact with other people, and must not leave their accommodation for three days after the arrival date.

For those who are not vaccinated or fully inoculated, they must stay in their accommodation for seven days after the arrival date.

For arriving passengers who are under 18 or over 65, pregnant women, or have underlying health conditions (but don’t have to be monitored and receive treatment from medical facilities), they can go into quarantine with their guardians/caretakers. 

The guardians/caretakers must be fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19. They are also required to sign a statement on their voluntary quarantine after receiving an explanation on the risk of transmission.

They must also comply with the regulations on testing and pandemic prevention and control, the same as the new arrivals. 

Step 5: Conduct RT-PCR testing during the quarantine period at the accommodation

If the test result returns negative for SARS-CoV-2, the person will have to continue monitoring their health status for 14 days after their arrival.

If the result returns positive, the testing unit must report to the HCM City CDC to transfer the sample to HCM City Pasteur Institute for genomic sequencing.

Local medical centres where the patients are in quarantine will also be notified to transfer the infected to Field Hospital No. 12 (for those with no to mild symptoms) or HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases (for those with signs of respiratory failure). 

Vietnam so far has reported 20 Omicron infections, all imported cases which were all immediately quarantined upon arrival and reportedly all asymptomatic or mild cases. Six of them, including five in HCM City and one in Hanoi (Vietnam's first confirmed Omicron patient) have been given the all-clear after testing negative for coronavirus.

Source: Vietnam News

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