The Ministry of Health has urged people to stay at home and only leave their homes for a handful of special reasons.
An elderly man works as a transporter in Hà Nội during the COVID-19 pandemic. People, especially those over 60, are advised to stay at home for their safety. — Photo baophatluat.vn
The announcement was made on Thursday morning when seven people, including five Vietnamese, one French man, and one South African woman, tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the country’s total number of cases to 148.
In the past 24 hours, 14 new cases were reported. Of that, ten cases were immediately quarantined after entering the country and one case was a doctor who was infected while treating people in hospital.
The three remaining cases were reported to have contacted other members of the community.
The ministry said people needed to stay indoors. Those who were over 60 years old needed to stay at home all the time as they were the most vulnerable to the virus.
People needed to notify local authorities and police about people entering Việt Nam, including both Vietnamese and foreign citizens, from March 8 who have not been quarantined.
All unnecessary services in Hà Nội have been ordered to shut down to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Trương Hữu Khanh, head of the Infection and Neurology Department at HCM City’s Children No1 Hospital, told online newspaper Zing that the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection was high in crowded places.
The amount of virus spread from the infected person depended on different stages. For those who start coughing, the virus would spread more.
Therefore, people should limit travelling and gathering in crowded places.
"A person who feels like he or she may be infected with Covid-19 needs to know how to quarantine themselves. This will limit the spread of the disease," he said.
Khanh said when people raised their awareness, the disease would spread slowly and be brought under control. Doctors would have enough time to care for patients, especially in severe cases.
When too many people got sick at the same time, the hospital would be overloaded, making treatment more difficult, he said.
Dr Phạm Bá Hiền, deputy head of the steering committee for the prevention of COVID-19 of Đống Đa General Hospital, shared the same view, saying karaoke bars, pagodas, or churches were places where people had very close contact with each other and had high risk of infection.
If infected people were not detected and quarantined, the risk of infection would increase to the community and make it difficult to control the epidemic.
Ministry asks for review of infection prevention at hospitals
The Ministry of Health has asked health departments of localities nationwide to review infection prevention measures at hospitals to prevent cross infection.
The move was made after the first doctor in Việt Nam was infected with the novel coronavirus while treating COVID-19 patients.
The 29-year-old doctor works at the emergency department of the Central Tropical Diseases Hospital branch in Đông Anh District.
He has taken part in work for COVID-19 epidemic prevention at the hospital since January 31. The man screened and treated suspected COVID-19 patients, as well as participated in emergency care for patients in severe conditions. During his work, he was provided with full personal protective equipment. After work, he stayed in the isolation area for medical staff in the hospital.
He showed symptoms of coughing, muscle aches and fever on March 20.
On March 21, he started his self-isolation in the emergency department's buffer zone. His sample then tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Trường Sơn said medical workers need to strictly follow infection prevention rules at hospitals.
He suggested medical workers proactively prevent infection while caring for and treating COVID-19 patients.
He proposed the Central Tropical Diseases Hospital to enhance infection prevention work and pay more attention to health checks for medical workers in direct contact with patients, particularly those in critical condition.
The ministry plans to buy an additional 30 million face masks for medical workers.
Deputy Minister of Health Sơn had a working session with the hospital on Tuesday to look into the treatment for COVID-19 cases, especially serious ones.
The hospital is treating 46 COVID-19 patients, including 34 Vietnamese and 12 foreigners.
Notably, its intensive care department is tending to three serious cases, comprising a 64-year-old Vietnamese woman, a 50-year-old Vietnamese man and a 69-year-old British man.
Lương Ngọc Khuê, Director of the Health Ministry’s Department of Medical Examination and Treatment Management, said as the hospital handles serious cases, it needs to review its operating procedures and equipment and report the situation to the ministry to seek solutions if necessary.
Deputy Minister Sơn highly valued efforts by all the staff of the hospital and asked the hospital to better care for its staff so that they won’t be overloaded. Besides, it needs to build more response plans in case the number of patients surges.
Severe cases will receive treatment at higher-level hospitals, including the Central Tropical Diseases Hospital, while mild ones will be moved to others.
Emergency announcement on movement history of COVID-19 patients
The Ministry of Health this morning issued an emergency announcement on the movement history of COVID-19 patients.
According to the urgent notice, the patients went to several restaurants, bars and shopping centres.
The Ministry of Health urged people who were present in the following places at certain times immediately contact local centres for diseases control for health monitoring instructions:
2. Grilled meat restaurant at 31A Hồ Đắc Di, Hà Nội, from 5pm-8pm on March 15.
3. Vinmart in Vincom Phạm Ngọc Thạch, No. 2 Phạm Ngọc Thạch Street, Hà Nội, from 8pm-10pm on March 15.
4. Buddha Bar & Grill, 7 Thảo Điền Street, Thảo Điền Ward, District 2, HCM City, from 10pm on March 14 to 2.30am on March 15.
5. Eel vermicelli restaurant, 42 Thái Hà Street, Hà Nội, at about 2pm on March 19.
6. FV Saigon Clinic - District 1, 46 Võ Thị Sáu, District 1, HCM City, from 9am to 10am on March 21.