The Ministry of Health on March 23 evening announced the 123rd case who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.
The patient is a 17-year-old female native of the southern province of Ben Tre. She had lived in Sarawar of Malaysia for 3-4 months.
The girl went from Malaysia to Bandar Seri Begawa of Brunei on March 17, boarded Flight BI381 and arrived at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City the same day.
She came back to her home province in the afternoon of March 17 on a coach and underwent self-quarantine at home. Her sample was taken on March 21 as she showed no symptoms of the COVID-19. Two people who contacted her during her self-quarantine at home have not exhibited any signs of the disease.
On March 22, her sample tested positive for the virus and she is now being quarantined at the health centre of Binh Dai district, Ben Tre province.
HCM City uses hotels in Cần Giờ as quarantine areas
A resort in HCM City’s Cần Giờ District receives returnees from overseas who will be under a 14-day quarantine. — Photo dantri.com.vn
Ten hotels and resorts in HCM City’s coastal district of Cần Giờ are being used as paid quarantine facilities with 486 rooms for people required to be under quarantine, according to the municipal Department of Information and Communications.
Many hotels in the city’s centre areas have registered to be paid quarantine facilities, but the outlying district of Cần Giờ, which has the lowest population density of all districts, has been given priority to be used as a quarantine area, said Từ Lương, deputy director of the department.
As of Sunday, there were only 100 beds available to receive returnees from overseas to spend their mandatory quarantine at hotels and resorts, Lương said.
Room rates, including meals for a 14-day quarantine period at hotels and resorts, are around VNĐ8.4 million (US$357) per person.
Nguyễn Thị Huỳnh Mai, chief of the Department of Health’s office, said hotels in outlying areas have been given priority to prevent the risk of community transmission of infections.
Hotel staff have been trained in ways to prevent infection, while medical staff twice a day visit quarantined people to examine their health and check body temperature, according to Mai.
Anyone coming from abroad to Việt Nam is required to be under mandatory quarantine for 14 days. The number of people under quarantine is expected to soar in coming days, she said.
The city has set up eight quarantine centres managed by the city’s People’s Committee and 24 quarantine centres managed by district-level hospitals, with a total of 23,600 beds, she said.
The Ministry of Health has released its instructions on the use of hotels as paid quarantine facilities and has asked the people’s committees in cities and provinces to strictly follow them.
Under the instructions, foreigners who are specialists, managers, business owners and skilled workers are given priority to spend their mandatory quarantine at hotels and resorts.
Over the past few days, more than 1,000 returnees from overseas have arrived at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport in HCM City every day.
As of March 23, more than 7,400 people had been put under mandatory 14-day quarantine at quarantine centres in the city, and more than 900 people are under self-quarantine at home, according to the HCM City Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDC).
As of March 23, there were 27 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city, with all in stable health condition, according to the HCDC.
Int'l media applauds Vietnam’s quick, transparent steps against COVID-19
Vietnam has grabbed international headlines over the past week for the country’s quick and transparent actions to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
The Communist Party of Vietnam has earned local and foreign plaudits for its firm COVID-19 containment measures, according to an Asia Times story written by columnist David Hutt.
The party has won hearts and minds by touting its quick, effective and transparent management of the viral outbreak, the story said.
“While Vietnam’s confirmed cases have risen in recent days, mostly due to tourists arriving from Europe, the new epicenter of the global pandemic, Hanoi’s strict containment measures have conveyed a bunker spirit that has arguably united the communist-run country.”
Indeed, Vietnam responded quicker than most Asian nations, the story noted.
The Asia Times quoted Carl Thayer, a Vietnam expert and emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia, as saying Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc “has been proactive in taking action.”
“He has established a task force to oversee national, provincial and local levels. The government has gone into overdrive with an information campaign to advise citizens what actions they should take to retard the spread of the virus,” Thayer said.
He added that the military, which enjoys huge respect and trust in Vietnamese society, has been mobilized to assist with public health measures through medical specialists and the provision of quarantine facilities.
The Ministry of Health has been active in announcing new infections and providing sanitation guidance, Michael Tatarski, a journalist based in Ho Chi Minh City, told Asia Times.
The global health community agrees with Vietnam's measures, said Kidong Park, the Hanoi-based representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), who has praised the Vietnamese government for its “proactiveness and consistency throughout the response.”
Meanwhile, the Diplomat has hailed Vietnamese authorities for remaining transparent about the disease information as well as allowing unrestricted information on Facebook.
“In fighting the epidemic, the government put the existence and life of the people first and foremost. In that spirit, the government has been remarkably transparent, briskly addressing the psychological crisis among the people,” the Washington-based magazine said.
Many foreign news outlets have reported on Vietnam’s preventive measures against the COVID-19 spread, which include suspension of visa-free access for foreigners and closures of schools, cinemas, bars and clubs, massage and karaoke parlours and gaming centres in major cities until the end of March.
The New York-based Bloomberg last week reported that Vietnam’s military was expanding its quarantine capacity to house thousands of Vietnamese returnees from abroad with facilities able to accommodate about 60,000 people.
First public hand washing booth opens
The first free hand-washing station among the total 100 nationwide was placed at the Ly Thai To statue park in Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi on March 23, as part of the anti-COVID-19 programme “For a healthy Vietnam”.
The inauguration ceremony was jointly held by the Central Commitee of the Vietnam Youth Federation, the National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health under the Ministry of Health, and the Unilever International Co., Ltd.
People were encouraged to join the hand-washing dance “Ghen Co Vy” (Jealous Coronavirus) – which has been praised on the US magazine Billboard and the “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”, an American late-night talk and news satire television programme.
The programme aims to build 100 free hand-washing stations in public places such as bus stations and tourist sites nationwide.
On March 23 morning, as many as 20 hand-washing stations were installed in crowded places in Hanoi. Each could serve over 1,000 people per day.
On this occasion, the Ho Chi Minh Youth Union Central Committee handed over 383 million VND (16,476 USD) to the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee in support of the anti-coronvirus efforts.
The Central Commitee of the Vietnam Youth Federation presented medical supplies to the Hanoi Capital High Command./.
Vietnam Airlines carries anti-COVID-19 equipment to Hanoi for free
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has announced that it will carry specialised protective clothing and face masks from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi free-of-charge, as part of nationwide efforts against COVID-19 pandemic.
Accordingly, 12,000 sets of specialised protective clothing and 7,000 face masks, equivalent to 550 boxes of goods weighing over three tonnes, prepared by the Ho Chi Minh City-based Cho Ray hospital, will be sent to the Health Ministry’s northern warehouse from March 23.
The carrier will run similar flights in the near future to ensure sufficient equipment and materials in the fight against the epidemic as directed by the Government.
Its representative said it is part of Vietnam Airlines’ Flights of Nation campaign for the sake of humans and national interest.
Cities and provinces nationwide close tourist attractions to avoid COVID-19 spread
A public park on the Hương (Perfurme) River. The central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế has postponed all performances and tour services due to COVID-19.
Provinces across the country have decided to close tourist attractions to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Bắc Giang Province has closed its doors at tourist sites and ordered a temporary closure of entertainment venues.
Affected venues include cinemas, bars, karaoke, sauna and massage parlors and gaming services.
The provincial People's Committee has also instructed organisations and individuals to seriously implement regulations to prevent COVID-19 at wedding ceremonies, funeral and rituals.
Head of the provincial steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control, Lê Ánh Dương, also ordered the Department of Transport to temporarily halt all car and motorbike driving tests in the province.
In order to keep people safe from COVID-19 and limit the spread of the epidemic in the community, the executive board of Hà Nội Book Street announced it was closing until the end of March.
Kim Đồng Publishing House, Phương Nam Bookstore, Nhã Nam Culture and Media Joint Stock Company have informed readers about the temporary suspension, while online sales have increased.
In Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province, the local government announced it was closing Côn Đảo Island from today.
The island's People’s Committee has been instructed to inform travel companies.
Local people have been advised to avoid non-essential travel to and from the island, and submit truthful health declarations.
People who fail to comply with the rules will be strictly punished.
About 3,000 domestic and foreign tourists visit Côn Đảo Island every day.
Similarly, Kiên Giang Province has suspended visitors from the island districts of Hà Tiên City, Kiên Lương and Kiên Hải and Thổ Châu communes on Phú Quốc since March 21.
Starting from 10am on March 20, the province halted transport for foreigners entering Việt Nam without certificates to show they had not contracted COVID-19 to and from Phú Quốc Island.
The province also asked food and beverage businesses and retailers to ensure safety regulations in line with guidance from the Ministry of Health.
Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Đỗ Thanh Bình said as of March 20, the province had reported no cases of COVID-19.
In Thừa Thiên-Huế province, local authorities have postponed performances of Huế folk singing and boat trips.
The central city of Đà Nẵng has also cancelled displays on Rồng Bridge on Saturday and Sunday nights. The bridge, in the shape of a dragon, spits fire and water during the weekends to attract tourists.
Museums, pagodas, temples, karaoke bars, music performances at cafés and public sites have also been banned in Quảng Nam and Quảng Ngãi.
Da Nang city provides heath checks for all people
A medical centre in Đà Nẵng. The city has started screening people suffering from coughs or fever to keep out possible COVID-19 cases.
The central city’s health department has begun screening residents at home and in medical centres to stop possible COVID-19 infections in the community.
The department said all people suffering from a cough or fever should visit medical centres for health checks.
It said the urgent programme aimed to clear any cases with direct or indirect contact with unknown tourists or residents returning home from COVID-19 outbreak areas, especially old people aged over 60 and newborn babies.
People aged from 60 who are more vulnerable to the SARS-CoV-2 account for 12 per cent of the city’s total 1.1 million population.
Director of the department Ngô Thị Kim Yến said samples that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 would be sent to Nha Trang’s Pasteurs Institute for confirmation.
Previously, four COVID-19 cases found in the city were announced by the ministry.
According to the latest report from the city, 1,152 people in quarantine at medical centres, hotels and households had tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 as of Monday.
A report from the department revealed that 1,300 people, including 39 foreigners at the Vanda Hotel on Nguyễn Văn Linh Street, had completed 14 days in isolation as of Sunday.
The city has been treating four positive patients, including three foreigners (two British and one American).
Also on Monday, the city’s Obstetrics and Paediatrics hospital put into operation the BK-AntiCovid robot to transport food and personal belongings in the isolation site in the hospital.
The robot, which was developed by a research team at the city’s Science Technology College in just 10 days, can carry up to 100kg.
The research team also plans to build a chemical spraying and remote body-thermal robot to limit close contact with possible COVID-19 positive cases.
Local authorities urged to promote check of suspected COVID-19 cases
A policeman of the division for exit and entry management under the Hanoi Department of Public Security handles procedures for a citizen
Local authorities must promote their role in checking suspected cases of COVID-19, heard a meeting of the national steering committee for preventing and combating the disease held in Hanoi on March 23.
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, head of the committee, chaired the event.
Since the infection rate of passengers on flight has been constantly surging in recent days, forces at airports need to intensify the management of those entering Vietnam and carry out quarantine as regulated to minimise the transmission of the virus among the community, members of the committee said.
They urged the health ministry to guide cities and provinces to accelerate the tests, as well as work with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to ensure sufficient medical equipment.
Localities should coordinate with the education and labour sectors to prepare more quarantine areas, including self-paid ones for diplomatic and official passport holders and experts working in key projects in Vietnam, and important trade partners of the country.
The concentrated quarantine must be carried out free of charge and without discrimination for Vietnamese citizens, the committee stressed.
Vietnam has so far recorded 121 infection cases, including 16 having fully recovered and been discharged from hospital and with no death./.
PM hails army for efforts in fighting COVID-19 outbreak
Military staff prepare free meals for people in a quarantined place in the northern province of Điện Biên.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has praised the army for its efforts to overcome a wide range of difficulties and challenges to fulfill all tasks in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
While attending an army teleconference on COVID-19 prevention and control on Sunday, PM Phúc said the Việt Nam People’s Army (VPA) is always a pillar of the nation and its role is further promoted when the country is in danger.
The VPA has been in the front line of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, adding that thousands of officers and soldiers have been mobilised to directly participate in the combat.
The PM also praised the army’s science and technology units for their successful development and production of SARS-CoV-2 new coronavirus test kit which has greatly contributed to COVID-19 check-up and treatment.
In the future, the government leader asked all VPA officers and soldiers to protect themselves from COVID-19 and prevent the spread of the disease in military units. The whole army needs to make greater endeavours to manage well concentrated quarantine areas, he added.
A report delivered by the Ministry of National Defence’s Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control showed that a total of 34,734 people have been quarantined at barracks across the country. Of them, 17,910 people have completed their quarantine periods and 16,538 others are undergoing quarantine.
The Ministry of National Defence has 140 establishments which are capable of receiving more than 44,700 people for quarantine.
As of Sunday afternoon, Việt Nam had reported 99 COVID-19 infection cases, of whom 17 patients have recovered.
COVID-19 prevention, control efforts stepped up
Medical workers conduct tests for SARS-CoV-2 virus in Hải Phòng northern port city.
Health examinations and emergency treatment at Hà Nội's Bạch Mai Hospital will still be conducted as normal, the hospital said on Sunday morning.
The hospital had only temporarily stopped health examinations in different wards to avoid crowding in treatment areas.
The hospital’s Nutrition Centre and kitchen will supply enough meals for patients and their families if necessary.
The hospital said everyone should follow COVID-19 preventive measures when entering the hospital, including submitting to a temperature check, washing hands with a sterilising solution and wearing face masks.
The Hà Nội diseases control centre had worked with the hospital to sterilise all of the hospital’s campus.
Earlier on last Friday, the Ministry of Health declared two nurses working at the hospital’s Tropical Diseases Centre were Việt Nam’s 86th and 87th COVID-19 patients.
Quarantine at hotels
Foreigners in Hạ Long City, the northern province of Quảng Ninh since Sunday could choose to be quarantined at several hotels in the city with prices cut by at least half, said deputy chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyễn Ngọc Sơn.
If they do not wish to stay at a hotel, they will be moved to a collective quarantine area.
The hotels that can be used as quarantine centres are the Bưu Điện Hạ Long, Grand Hạ Long, Sun Hạ Long and Bạch Đằng in Bãi Cháy Ward.
Each hotel will have an operation committee including a representative from the municipal people’s committee, the hotel management board, medical worker and police.
The 17th, 24th and 27th COVID-19 patients of Việt Nam have tested negative for the disease twice, whereas the 18th patient has tested negative three times and has been moved from Ninh Bình General Hospital to Thái Bình General Hospital for further supervision.
As of Sunday, Việt Nam had 99 COVID-19 patients, of whom 16 have been discharged from hospital. The remaining patients are undergoing treatment at hospitals across the country. Most of them are in stable condition.