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Ho Chi Minh City to retest Covid-19 for all foreign experts entering the city

Malie Nguyen Malie Nguyen

Dieuhuong270198@gmail.com

February 22, 2021 | 08:32

The HCMC People's Committee Saturday asked relevant agencies to re-test all foreign experts who entered the city without mentioning a cutoff arrival date.

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The committee assigned the health sector to coordinate with the Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to organize the re-testing of "foreign experts who entered to work in the city."

Doctor Nguyen Tri Dung, director of the HCMC Center for Disease Control (HCDC), said that in recent days, the health sector has been monitoring Japanese experts entering HCMC from January 2021 until now. Nearly 700 Japanese experts have arrived in the city since January 1, of which more than 200 experts are working in the city, according to Vnexpress.

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A worker from Gia Lai has her sample taken by a medic in HCMC on February 19, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

"Since February 18, the HCDC has sent information about experts to the districts for verification, evaluation and sample taking as a Covid-19 prevention measure," Dung said.

The re-testing has been initiated after the death of "Patient 2229", a 54-year-old Japanese expert working for Mitsui Vietnam Co. Ltd.

He arrived Jan. 17 at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport and was quarantined in Ward 2, Tan Binh District from Jan. 17 to 31, during which he tested negative twice for the novel coronavirus.

He later took a flight to Hanoi and underwent self-quarantine at Somerset West Point since 2 p.m., Feb. 1. From February 1 to 13, he went to work at the company’s branch in Hanoi and returned to the serviced apartment building every day.

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Medical staff in HCMC take samples of residents in infected areas for coronavirus testing, February 10, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Le Cam.

Around 7 p.m. on Feb. 13, he was found dead in his Somerset West Point room. He tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but the cause of his death has yet to be confirmed.

Under current regulations, foreigners entering HCMC are quarantined for 14 days and tested at least twice during the period.

The HCMC People's Committee has said that despite the city's Covid-19 outbreak basically brought under control, the risk of infection and spread of the virus in the city exists, especially when people from other localities return here to work after Tet (Lunar New Year holiday).

Thu Duc city and all districts have been asked to inspect those who have returned to the city from other localities in the past 14 days and collect medical declarations. Industrial parks and enterprises must take pandemic prevention measures to guarantee safety at work.

Ho Chi Minh City has also begun randomly Covid-19 testing arrivals at Tan Son Nhat International Airport from Hanoi, Quang Ninh and Hai Phong.

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A Covid-19 patient in Hai Duong Province. Photo courtesy of Ministry of Health.

The Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDC) has been randomly screening 200 passengers arriving from Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport, Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh Province and Cat Bi International Airport in Hai Phong City every day.

The move came as part of the city’s expansion strategy to early detect community transmissions and prevent further coronavirus outbreaks after a series of staff at Tan Son Nhat, the country’s largest airport, were diagnosed with Covid-19.

Between February 11 and 14, medical staff in HCMC had worked non-stop to Covid-19 test thousands of people living in high-risk areas like motels, employment premises, bus stations and markets.

Fifteen more domestic Covid-19 cases were confirmed Sunday evening in Hai Duong, Vietnam's current coronavirus epicenter, raising the northern province's tally to 611.

From Jan. 28 to Feb. 21, Vietnam has confirmed 791 community transmissions in 13 localities, of which Hai Duong is the biggest hotspot with 611 cases, followed by Quang Ninh (60), HCMC (36), and Hanoi (35).

The nation’s tally has gone up to 2,383 to date. On Sunday, 90 patients in Hai Duong and three in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai have reportedly recovered, raising the number of recoveries to 1,720. The death toll remains at 35.

Most of the active cases are in stable conditions, in which 163 have tested negative for the virus at least once.

The total number of people in quarantine is over 123,000, of which 600 in hospital and the rest is either in quarantine centers or at home.

On Sunday, HCMC Health Department has requested hospitals and clinics to test all of their medical staff for Covid-19 before March 10.

Covid-19 has infected over 111 million people globally and took the lives of more than 2.4 million.

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Malie Nguyen