HCM City authorities during an online meeting on Thursday have called for tighter measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday. VNS Photo Bồ Xuân Hiệp
HCM CITY — HCM City has called for tighter measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 ahead of the upcoming Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday after Việt Nam identified 82 new Covid-19 cases related to the two that were diagnosed on Thursday, the highest number recorded in a single day in the country.
Speaking at an online meeting on Thursday, Võ Văn Hoan, vice chairman of the People’s Committee, said city authorities have ordered all of its districts and Thủ Đức City to limit organisation of festivals or events and mass gatherings of people in high-risk areas such as supermarkets, train and bus stations, airports, schools, businesses and factories.
Gatherings of people must comply with the requirements and guidance of the health ministry.
The city’s measures aim to ensure health and safety for its citizens during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, only two weeks away.
The city, which is focusing on strict management of foreign entries, said it has told its local health departments to intensify supervision of medical quarantine regulations to detect and treat any infections to prevent the virus from spreading.
The department must also take steps to ensure that all medical workers in disease prevention and control are fully aware of the situation and that they fulfill their responsibilities to carry out disease prevention plans and scenarios.
The department will assign tasks to individuals and units if any cases are detected.
The city strongly recommends that people continue to strictly follow the ministry’s measures to prevent winter-spring diseases, including COVID-19.
The city continues to promote its 5K (in Vietnamese) message: Khẩu trang (face mask) – Khử khuẩn (disinfection) – Khoảng cách (distance) – Không tụ tập (no gathering) – Khai báo y tế (health declaration).
As of Thursday afternoon, the city had identified seven people as F1 contacts (direct contact with the patient in Quảng Ninh Province. Six of them have tested negative for the virus for the first test. The other is waiting for their test results, according to Nguyễn Tấn Bỉnh, director of the Department of Health.
Of the 82 new patients, 72 work at Vietnam Poyun Electronics Co., Ltd in Hải Dương Province and 10 at Vân Đồn International Airport in Quảng Ninh Province, both in northern Vietnam.
A total of 3,000 people in Hải Dương Province are being screened for the novel coronavirus. The province can test 1,000 samples a day.
Hải Dương Province’s Chí Linh Town, where the Poyun firm is located, has been put under lockdown for 21 days starting at Thursday noon, as ordered by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.
No passenger transportation out of the city and no public activities are being allowed for the next 21 days, unless in exceptional cases, the directive said.
Personal vehicles are to be limited as much as possible, while transport of materials and goods will still be allowed.
Other towns and localities in the province will undergo slightly more relaxed social distancing measures, where activities that involve large crowds have been suspended. Factories in the province which don’t abide by Covid-19 prevention measures will have to stop operating.
Vân Đồn airport, which has been receiving repatriation flights with a number of people testing postive with COVID-19 arriving on them, has also been locked down.
Chairing an urgent government meeting, PM Phúc called on Hải Dương and Quảng Ninh provinces to swiftly track down everyone who has been in contact with others in the outbreak area or anyone suspected of being infected, and to temporarily close their borders to prevent people from leaving.
In about two weeks, Vietnamese will celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday, an occasion for family reunions that will see millions travel to their hometowns.
The outbreak in the north is the largest in Việt Nam since a cluster emerged in the central city of Đà Nẵng in July and quickly spread to most regions of the country, leading to the country’s first fatalities from COVID-19.
Containment efforts could become more complicated during the Lunar New Year holiday period when big indoor gatherings are more common. — VNS