HCM City keeps eye on facilities, says will not allow number of COVID-19 cases to rise beyond 300

COVID-19 prevention and control efforts at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport in HCM City. VNA/VNS.Photo

HCM CITY — Relevant agencies should further strengthen COVID-19 prevention and control measures so that the number of cases in the city is contained within 300, Secretary of the HCM City Party Committee, Nguyễn Thiện Nhân, told an online meeting with the city Steering Board for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on Tuesday.

Its health facilities could take in 1,200 patients with COVID-19 at a time, but when one person gets the illness, 280 people have to be quarantined, he pointed out.

So if the city has 300 patients, 84,000 others have to be quarantined, and they could not accommodate 10 per cent of that number, he said.

He said the country is trying to prevent the number of COVID-19 cases from rising to 1,000, and so the city should not allow it to exceed 300. Experiences from countries with COVID-19 have shown that 100 increased to 1,000 within 10 days and to 2,000 within three days.

So the next 10-14 days would be important and decisive for the city and the country, and it is a big challenge requiring the public, and relevant organisations and agencies to join the prevention effort, he said.     

If there are 2,000 new cases a day, hospitals with thousands of beds would not be enough and there are not enough quarantine areas either, he warned.  

Limiting travelling is one way to prevent the spread, and so everyone should limit their travel to combat the spread, he said.  

He called on relevant agencies to think about allowances for people who stay at home to take care of their children like Japan, saying they stay at home for the benefit of society. They could seek donations from the private sector if the city lacks the funds, he said.

The city would control transmission from other countries and strictly quarantine people at high risk of transmission, he assured.

Standing vice chairman of the People’s Committee, Lê Thanh Liêm, urged local authorities and other relevant agencies to visit every house to find out if anyone has come from other countries since March 8 and test and quarantine anyone at risk at home or quarantine areas.  

They also should advise people aged above 60 to stay at home and limit contact with other people, he said. All residents should comply with preventive measures, he said.

Universities that have students still staying in their dormitories should encourage them to go home avoid transmission risk, he added.

High pressure

HCM City is now under high pressure of a surge in infected cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) due to the influx of Vietnamese nationals and foreigners entering the city from abroad, said Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the city’s People’s Committee.

Speaking at a meeting on Monday, Phong said that imported cases of COVID-19 raised the risk of transmissions in community if drastic measures to prevent the spread of infections are not strictly taken and enforced to comply with.

The Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport in the city receives an average of 1,300- 1,800 Vietnamese natioanals from overseas every day, he said.

All arriving people from abroad are subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine to prevent the spread of imported infections, he stressed.

He assigned the city’s Department of Justice to coordinate with related agencies to propose coronavirus self-isolation and mandatory quarantine rules for overseas arrivals and individuals with inspected infections as well as penalties for breaching the 14-day quarantine rules.

The department was required to submit its proposal in within two days.

It was also asked to propose fines for individuals who do not wear masks in public places.

Nguyễn Tấn Bỉnh, director of the city’s Department of Health, said individuals arriving from overseas resulted in the increase in imported infections.

The city authorities must tighten quaratine rules for individuals arriving from overseas by airway, road, and waterway, with a focus on individuals from virus-hit countries, Bỉnh said.

The director of the Department of Health asked the coordinated efforts of district-level people’s committees to promptly isolate residential areas with high risk of transmission of infections as well as identify individuals who had close contact with infected people to promptly put them under mandatory quarantine.

People under self-quarantine must be supervised strictly by local authorities and health officials.

The Ministry of Health’s medical instructions at concentrated quarantine areas must be strictly followed to minimise the risk of transmission of the virus, he warned.

The city’s health system will add 20,000 test kits next month and another 20,000 test kits in May and June in a bid to detect infections of COVID-19, he added.

The city is now tightening restrictions on mass gatherings and advising people avoid non-essential domestic travelling and gathering.

As of Monday (March 23), the number of confirmed cases in the city was 27 and inspected cases, 14.

More than 7,200 people are place under mandatory quarantine at concentrated quaratine centres in the city and more than 1,000 people are under self-quarantine at home. VNS

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