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The disease situation in Da Nang is a "serious warning" for all hospitals, departments, and localities, said Deputy Prime Minister, adding that the COVID-19 combat is still prolonged.
At the meeting, Prof. Dang Duc Anh, Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, said the results of 5,000 antibody test samples collected in the quarantine facilities and community indicate that COVID-19 might resurge in Da Nang since early July, according to VNExpress.
Associate Professor Tran Dac Phu, former Director of the Preventive Medicine Department said that Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and some major medical facilities have not detected COVID-19 cases in the communities, except for cases linked to Da Nang.
According to the Acting Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long, the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious than the five previously detected ones in the country. Its virulence level is, however, has yet to be confirmed.
A doctor takes samples of a man in Da Nang for Covid-19 tests, August 3, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong.
At a meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said cities and provinces that have recorded cases of Covid-19 caused by community transmission have to "consider the scale of social distancing and make it reasonable”.
Da Nang, now Vietnam’s Covid-19 epicenter, and other cities and provinces where locally transmitted cases have been detected, like Hanoi and HCMC, must "speed up processes, impose aggressive and drastic methods to detect infections, track down suspect cases and locate stricken areas to put down the outbreaks," he said.
The PM also emphasized that local authorities have to decide on measures that ensure in tandem the effectiveness of preventing infections from spreading and minimizing the impacts on people's lives and socio-economic activities.
Prior to the government’s meeting Monday night, Mai Tien Dung, chairman of the government’s office, told the press that the government’s guideline is to circle the areas where cases have been detected to focus outbreak containment measures, reported VNExress.
"Such circles should be of sufficient scale that it can end the outbreak and stop it from spreading further, but at the same time, they should guarantee that businesses carry out their production and trade. The experience of many countries in the world is to apply the strategy of dual goals, combating the pandemic while ensuring economic development," Dung said.
He was responding to a question regarding the suggestion made by HCMC Party chief Nguyen Thien Nhan about possible Wuhan-style lockdown being imposed on Da Nang.
Residents in Da Nang City line up for Covid-19 testing on August 3, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong.
Nhan said at a government meeting with local authorities on Sunday that "it is necessary to identify Da Nang as an especially dangerous epicenter and apply the strictest measures to control the outbreak."
He argued that a complete lockdown is necessary as the Health Ministry had said the outbreak in Da Nang has been going on "quietly" for more than one month now, and it is possible that many infected people have yet to show symptoms or be diagnosed.
He also raised concerns over Da Nang's ability to isolate people having or suspected to have the disease, saying quarantining everyone at home should be taken into serious consideration now, implying a complete lockdown of the central coastal city.
Deputy Health Minister Truong Quoc Cuong said the ministry will study the suggestion of quarantining at home by the HCMC Party secretary. In case centralized facilities are overloaded, the city should switch to quarantining at home, he said.
As of August 5, Vietnam has reported 672 infectious cases, including 378 cases making a full recovery and 8 fatalities.
The remaining 286 patients are receiving treatment at medical centers across the country. Among them, 11 patients are in critical condition and tied to risk of death, while four other patients are given oxygen therapy.
As many as 120,000 people have been placed in quarantine for medical surveillance nationwide, including more than 1,500 people in hospitals and 20,000 at concentrated quarantine facilities.
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