Southern region tightens preventive measures against COVID

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Health officials take samples for testing for COVID-19 at an apartment building in HCM City’s Tân Phú District after a resident tested positive on May 27. VNA/VNS.Photo Hứa Chung

HCM CITY— The HCM City Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention said on Friday morning that 12 more people are suspected to have contracted COVID-19.

The confirmation has to come from the Ministry of Health, according to protocol.

Two of them had come into contact with a couple who tested positive for coronavirus at Hoàn Mỹ Sài Gòn General Hospital in Phú Nhuận District, a three-year-old son of the couple and a colleague.

But none of the four cases is related to the outbreak at the Revival Ekklesia Mission Christian sect in Gò Vấp District detected on May 27.

Everyone who came into contact with them has been tested and quarantined.

But the other eight were indeed related to the Revival Ekklesia Mission, which increases to 44 people the number of people infected there, according to the centre.

On May 28, Hoàn Mỹ Sài Gòn and Tân Phú District hospitals were locked down because of the new suspected patients.

The Mekong Delta province of Long An on May 27 recorded its first ever COVID infection. The patient in Cần Giuộc District worked as a cook at the Sheraton Hotel in HCM City with an infected person related to the Revival Ekklesia Mission.

He is being treated at the Cần Giuộc Regional General Hospital.

Province authorities identified 20 people who came into contact with the patient and 103 who in turn came into contact with them. But all of them tested negative.

The district has isolated an area in Long Hậu Commune where the patient lives, disinfected it and continues to contact trace.

Professor Dr Phan Trọng Lân, head of the HCM City Pasteur Institute, said coronavirus variants were currently causing rapid spread.

“Quarantining is still the most effective method to prevent transmission.”

Everyone should be aware of the importance of strictly complying with the Ministry of Health’s 5k prevention protocol — khẩu trang (face mask), khử khuẩn (disinfection), khoảng cách (distance), không tụ tập (no gathering), and khai báo y tế (health declaration) – he said.

When many people get vaccinated, it would protect them and reduce transmission in the community, and new variants would not develop, he added.

HCM City and other relevant authorities are tightening preventive measures.

They have said people aged above 60 should not go out unnecessarily, more than 10 people should not gather outside of offices, schools and hospitals, and everyone should maintain a distance of at least two metres from other people in public.

The HCM City People’s Committee has instructed authorities in Thủ Đức city and all 21 districts to step up supervision and check street food stalls and restaurants, and withdraw violators’ business licences.

Hospitals have been instructed to tighten screening procedures and classification of patients, and patients need to register first to limit queues.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam has instructed Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport to close down between May 27 and June 4.

More quarantine areas

Following instructions from the People’s Committee, the Vietnam National University- HCM City’s Military and Security Training Center set up a quarantine area on May 27 with 600 beds and admitted 473 people.

The People’s Committee has approved the renewed use of university dormitories to quarantine people who come into close contact with patients, and the temporary use of the Cần Giờ Hospital– Base 2 with 300 beds as a quarantine facility.

It has instructed the latter to gear itself up to treat COVID patients and isolate people suspected of infection.

There are 30 Government-run facilities and 42 hotels to quarantine people with a combined capacity of 10,481 beds.

Health authorities are seeking to expand the number to 30,000.

For the purpose, they plan to put into use nine more military-run quarantine facilities and a dormitory at the Việt Nam National University-HCM City, which have a total of 19,520 beds.

In Đồng Nai, authorities said the province would use dormitories at high schools, universities and colleges as quarantine facilities if the five existing ones become inadequate.

Industrial parks

Many southern provinces and cities are tightening preventive measures especially at industrial parks and export processing zones since the pandemic has hit many of them in Bắc Giang and Bắc Ninh provinces.

The Bình Dương Province People’s Committee has, for instance, instructed local authorities and industrial parks and export processing zones to develop scenarios to combat COVID if outbreaks occur, saying they should strengthen regular checks and shut down violators for good.

Workers should be asked to fill online health declaration forms every day, it said.

Hồ Xuân Lâm, vice chairman of the HCM City Federation of Labour, told Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper: “We have instructed labour federations in Thủ Đức City and all districts and trade unions in industrial parks and export processing zones to set up communication teams for COVID prevention and control.” VNS

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