Health minister urges HCM City to strengthen COVID-19 prevention measures

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HCM City on Tuesday (April 27) began fining people who do not wear a mask in public. VNA/VNS Photo by Thanh Vũ

HCM CITY – Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long has asked HCM City authorities to carry out COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control activities at the highest level.

At a meeting on pandemic prevention and control held on Thursday, Long said that although the city does not border provinces on the southwest border, the risk of transmission remains high as the city is the major trading centre for the maritime, aviation and tourism sectors in the South.

The city should maintain groups of supervisors from the city Centre for Disease Control and provide tests for the SARS-CoV-2 virus to people experiencing a cough and fever.

It also needs to ensure its COVID-19 case-detection capacity to at least 50,000 samples per day.

The minister asked the city to postpone unnecessary or crowded events, and strictly check entertainment venues, restaurants and hotels.

The city must also prepare sufficient health equipment and medicines, and plan to deal with the possible scenario of positive-case detections and a high number of severely ill patients.

Other issues include safety at quarantine facilities and preparation of infrastructure needed to receive a large number of quarantined people.

At the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình praised the city’s efforts in COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control. However, he said the city should focus on preventing and controlling illegal migration amid the complex developments of the pandemic in regional countries and the world.

“Do not let any COVID-19 case infest the community,” Bình said.

People’s Committee chairman Nguyễn Thành Phong said the city has tightened surveillance to detect illegal entrants.

He urged the public to comply with the Ministry of Health’s 5K message to wear masks, frequently disinfect hands, keep a safe distance, refrain from gatherings, and make health declarations.

Recently, many inspectors from city departments and districts have been sent to check whether people are wearing masks in public, he said.

They found that many people were not wearing masks in public. The city has handed out a total of VNĐ12 million (US$519) fines since Tuesday (April 27).

The city has cancelled the firework shows previously scheduled to celebrate Reunification Day and Labour Day, and has postponed unnecessary or crowded events.

Hospitals were also told to ensure staff for COVID-19 prevention and control during the four-day holiday celebrating Reunification Day on April 30 and Labour Day on May 1. VNS

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