Secretary of the HCM City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan has asked relevant agencies to further strengthen COVID-19 prevention and control measures so that the number of cases in the city is contained within 300.
COVID-19 prevention and control efforts at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City
Its health facilities could take in 1,200 patients with COVID-19 at a time, but when one person gets the illness, 280 people have to be quarantined, he told an online meeting with the city Steering Board for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on March 24.
So if the city has 300 patients, 84,000 others have to be quarantined, and they could not accommodate 10 percent of that number, he said.
He said the country is trying to prevent the number of COVID-19 cases from rising to 1,000, and so the city should not allow it to exceed 300. Experiences from COVID-19-hit countries have shown that 100 increased to 1,000 within 10 days and to 2,000 within three days.
So the next 10-14 days would be important and decisive for the city and the country, and it is a big challenge requiring the public, and relevant organisations and agencies to join the prevention effort, he said.
If there are 2,000 new cases a day, hospitals with thousands of beds would not be enough and there are not enough quarantine areas either, he warned.
Limiting travelling is one way to prevent the spread, and so everyone should limit their travel at this time, he said.
He called on relevant agencies to think about allowances for people who stay at home to take care of their children like Japan, saying they stay at home for the benefit of society. They could seek donations from the private sector if the city lacks the funds, he said.
The city would control transmission from other countries and strictly quarantine people at high risk of transmission, he assured.
Standing Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem urged local authorities and other relevant agencies to visit every house to find out if anyone has come from other countries since March 8 and test and quarantine anyone at risk at home or quarantine areas.
They also should advise people aged above 60 to stay at home and limit contact with other people, he said, adding all residents should comply with preventive measures.
Universities that have students still staying in their dormitories should encourage them to go home avoid transmission risk, he added.
HCM City is now under high pressure of a surge in novel coronavirus infections due to the influx of Vietnamese nationals and foreigners entering the city from abroad, said Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of the city People’s Committee.
The Tan Son Nhat International Airport in the city receives an average of 1,300- 1,800 Vietnamese nationals from overseas every day, he said.
All arriving people from abroad are subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine to prevent the spread of imported infections, he stressed.
By 7pm on March 26, HCM City reported 36 COVID-19 cases, of whom three have fully recovered.
Many hospitals in HCM City see decrease in patients amid COVID-19 fears
Many hospitals in HCM City, especially Chợ Rẫy and Oncology, are not experiencing the usual overcrowding as many people are afraid to go to hospitals for fear of contracting COVID-19.
However, doctors still advise that people with underlying health issues, especially chronic conditions, should visit hospitals for their periodic health examination.
On February 27, Gia An 115 Hospital in the city’s Bình Tân District admitted a patient with a heart attack in an emergency status.
The patient’s relative said that she had chronic disease relating to the heart. The medicine which she was using had run out. She needed to visit the hospital for periodic examination and get more medicine.
However, she was afraid of COVID-19 and did not visit the hospital again. She bought the medicine at a local drugstore.
The Gia An 115 Hospital’s doctors removed a blood clot and inserted a stent to improve blood flow.
Dr Nguyễn Thanh Hiệp, vice rector of Phạm Ngọc Thạch University of Medicine, said that patients scheduled to visit for periodic exams should not miss their appointments because it was important to assess their health status.
Lê Minh Hiển, Chợ Rẫy Hospital’s head of the social work division, said that previously the hospital did not have enough wheelchairs for patients due to overcrowding.
However, many wheelchairs now are not being used because the number of patients has fallen, Hiển said, adding that more than 4,000 patients visit the hospital each day while the figure was 5,000-6,000 each day in the past.
HCM City Oncology Hospital, which treats cancer patients in the city and southern region, has seen a decrease of by 10 per cent compared to normal.
HCM City Hospital of Dermatology and Venerology’s has seen a drop to nearly 1,800 from 2,200 in the past.
Dr Phạm Thanh Việt of Chợ Rẫy Hospital said that it would be dangerous for patients to skip appointments at the hospital because they could miss a chance of early detection and treatment.
Hospital managers said that patients should not worry because they have strengthened preventive measures against COVID-19 at their facilities.
At the doors of hospitals, health staff check patients’ temperatures and fill out health declaration papers. Patients and staff must wear masks. Hand sanitizers have been placed in many areas in hospitals.
Khanh Hoa province suspends unnecessary services
The central province of Khanh Hoa has temporarily closed all establishments providing unnecessary services from 0:00 of March 26 to minimise large gatherings to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
They include karaoke and massage parlours, bars, cinemas, stadiums, online gaming centres and cultural performance venues.
Shops that provide essential goods and services will remain open, according to an urgent message the provincial People’s Committee sent to localities in Khanh Hoa on March 25.
The administration also asked relevant agencies to discourage people from gathering in crowds and places of worships not to organise services and other activities.
They were also urged to review all foreigners and overseas Vietnamese arriving in the country since March 8, ensure these people self-quarantine and fill in health declarations, and detect cases quickly to prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading in the community.
Many tourist sites in Khanh Hoa have closed to visitors, including Vinpearl Land Nha Trang, the Po Nagar temple tower complex, Hon Chong Island, Yang Bay Park, Khi (Monkey) Island, and Hon Tam Island./.
National University offers one more dormitory as Covid-19 quarantine zone
The HCM City National University has handed over its dormitories in zone B, Thủ Đức District, to set up a Covid-19 quarantine.
Tăng Hữu Thủy, director of the dormitory, told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper that due to the complicated pandemic situation, all dormitories in zone B become quarantines since March 22.
The dormitory management cleaned all the rooms and inventories and sent to the warehouse all occupants’ belongings.
Last week the city decided to use dormitories in zone A as a quarantine for passengers landing in Tân Sơn Nhất and Cần Thơ airports and suffering from COVID-19.
According to the city’s Centre for Disease Control, since then the dormitory has received 5,036 out of the 8,836 cases quarantined in the city.
The 42.08ha dormitory is on the border between HCM City and Bình Dương Province and has 49 buildings of five to 16 floors.
It can accommodate more than 40,000 people.
Students who live in these buildings were asked to return home before last weekend.
Religious organisations in HCM City suspend large gatherings
Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City’s Archdiocese Nguyen Nang
Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City’s Archdiocese Nguyen Nang has asked all churches and oratories to halt religious activities with large numbers of participants from 4pm on March 26.
In his letter sent to the archdiocese’s priests on March 25, he said it was a tough decision, but necessary in the nationwide effort to prevent the COVID-19 spread, not only for individual safety but also social responsibility.
He added that ceremonies will still be carried out, but separately. Churches are not allowed to hold community prayers.
The Archbishop called on people to attend prayers at home or online.
Wedding parties should be postponed during the pandemic.
The Executive Board of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS)’s chapter in HCM City also issued a notice about the suspension of teaching sessions and public festivals.
Earlier, Most Venerable Thich Thien Nhon, Chairman of the VBS Executive Board, called on Buddhist followers to set an example by implementing preventive measures of the national steering committee for preventing and combating COVID-19 and the health ministry./.VNA/VNN