HCM City businesses offer to pay for COVID-19 tests for staff

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Health workers conduct COVID-19 surveillance and testing at Miền Đông bus station in HCM City. VNA/VNS Photo

HCM CITY — The HCM City Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDC) has asked city authorities to allow businesses to pay for COVID-19 testing of their staff who have returned to HCM City after the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday.

People returning from COVID-19 hotspots are required to take a COVID-19 test and be under surveillance for a certain period of time. People returning from non-affected localities are only required to complete health declarations.

As of February 19, a total of 186 people returning to HCM City from COVID-19 hotspots had been put under mandatory quarantine, according to HCDC Director Nguyễn Trí Dũng.

The HCDC has conducted 1,000 daily tests at gas stations, bus stations and the airport since February 16.

Many companies want to pay for testing costs to ensure safety for their employees and customers, Dũng said at a meeting with city authorities last Friday (Feb 19). “This will help the HCDC expand COVID-19 surveillance and testing in the city.”

Dương Anh Đức, deputy chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, said the city would offer assistance to companies to screen employees for infection.

Health facilities approved by the Ministry of Health to provide testing and test results for COVID-19 should be widely published, Đức said.

City authorities will also offer favourable conditions for investment in the preventive health system, including equipment, human resources and financial support, he said.

Dũng, director of the HCDC, said that it was vital to invest in state-of-the-art laboratory equipment to meet the strong demand for testing.

District-level health centres and health stations in wards and communes as part of the preventive health system must have enough personnel and equipment, he said.

More than 450 staff at the HCDC cancelled their plans for the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday and stayed at their workplaces to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, he added. —VNS

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