HCM City takes proactive efforts in response to COVID-19 pandemic

HCM City's proactive efforts on isolating people with COVID-19, tracking down their second- and third-hand contacts and providing treatment for those who are infected has resulted in a lower incidence of cases,

with the rate of spread currently under control, city leaders have said.

HCM City takes proactive efforts in response to COVID-19 pandemic
Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of the city People’s Committee, inspects a factory in Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone on April 4. Photo Media Centre

As of Wednesday morning, the city had 54 confirmed cases, which includes 35 imported cases and 19 cases from the community. 

There have been no new cases of COVID-19 over the past eight days in the city, according to the HCM City Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

The city has the most confirmed patients in the country after Hanoi. A total of 45 patients in the city have been discharged from hospitals after recovering from the disease. 

A total of 12,000 people have been put under mandatory quarantine, of which 11,760 people have completed the quarantine period, while the remaining 240 are still under quarantine at concentrated quarantine sites.

The city has strengthened social distancing measures and scrutinised those at risk of spreading the disease, requiring people to wear masks in public and wash hands frequently.

Since March 28, the city has fined 4,360 people who were not wearing masks in public. 

On April 5, the city set up 62 round-the-clock checkpoint booths for COVID-19 prevention and control where people passing by must have their temperatures checked.

Since April 4, all passengers arriving at HCM City’s airport have been given a quick test for COVID-19. All passengers entering the city via Sai Gon Railway Station have also been tested for COVID-19 since April 11.

Workers at boarding houses in industrial parks and export processing zones have been given quick tests for COVID-19.

The city’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Wednesday that nearly 7,000 samples of tests have so far been conducted at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Sai Gon Railway Station and boarding houses for workers, with only one sample confirmed positive.

Vietnam's 22nd patient, a British man who was previously declared recovered from COVID-19, tested positive again before boarding a flight to the UK on April 11.

As a result, the city’s Health Department on Monday quarantined dozens of people who had close contact with the British man.

Risk assessment

Nguyen Thien Nhan, secretary of the HCM City Party Committee, on Tuesday (April 14) praised the city’s Department of Health for its prompt issuance of precautionary principles on infection prevention and control at hospitals. The precautions aimed to control infection transmission, and to protect patients, visitors and staff from becoming infected. 

Nhan asked the Department of Education and Training to conduct risk assessments for coronavirus at schools by the end of this month, and then put procedures in place when schools reopen.

 

Nhan asked other sectors such as tourism, industry, trade and transportation to issue guidelines on infection prevention and control measures for COVID-19.

The HCM City Steering Committee for COVID-19 Disease Prevention and Control last week issued a set of indicators to assess the risk of COVID-19 infection at businesses based on factors like the number of workers, density of workers, hand hygiene, mask wearing, body temperature, distance between workers, and number of workers going to work by pick-up vehicle.

More than 1,600 businesses have conducted risk assessments at their premises based on the city’s set of indicators.

The HCM City Centre for Disease Control later supervised and assessed the risk of virus infection at 51 businesses in the city.

PouYuen Vietnam, which employs 62,000 workers, was the only business put on a two-day suspension, which began on Tuesday, due to a high level of risks.

Fifty-five per cent of businesses were assessed to have a low level of outbreak risks and the remaining 43 per cent an average level.

Outbreak risk control

Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, stressed at a meeting on Monday that the city would strengthen control of outbreak risks because there was still a high risk of community transmission and imported cases.

An average of 1,000 people enter the city from other localities every day, posing a threat and causing high concern about community transmission and a new wave of patients with positive tests, he said.

The city will continue to focus on effective preventive measures and strong leadership of local authorities in response to the pandemic, he said.

Health system capacities are prepared to detect, test, isolate and treat COVID-19 cases and trace every contact, Phong said.

The city’s Department of Health has planned for a variety of scenarios if the number of confirmed cases rises to 50-500 in the city.

Under this scenario, the department plans to arrange for an appropriate number of beds for treatment of COVID-19 patients, and a sufficient number of doctors and nurses and essential medical equipment to treat 500 confirmed cases. 

Relief packages to help the poor and unemployed as well as social welfare policies and policies for health workers and first responders have also been put in place, he added. — VNS

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