Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia August 5
PM encourages “soldiers in white coats” in COVID-19 fight
|Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc sent a letter to staff of the health care sector on Tuesday, praising their contributions in the battle against COVID-19. Photo baochinhphu.vn|
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Tuesday praised the wholehearted contribution of medical staff in the battle against COVID-19.
In a letter sent to staff of the health care sector, the Prime Minister emphasised that Việt Nam has entered a new stage of the pandemic with more complicated developments and which has quickly spread to various localities, including major cities, and several health workers have contracted the disease.
In response to Party General Secretary and President Nguyễn Phú Trọng’s appeal and with the stance of “fighting the disease like fighting the enemy”, the entire political system and people have teamed up in combating the disease, Phúc wrote, adding that the Government has urged more drastic and synchronous measures to deal with the hotspots, especially in central Đà Nẵng City and Quảng Nam Province.
The Government leader hailed “soldiers in white coats” for exerting every effort to trace and quarantine people in close contact with COVID-19 patients, take test samples and conduct tests, as well as treating patients.
He also expressed his gratitude to the families of health workers for always supporting and sharing difficulties with them.
Amid the complicated, uncertain and prolonged developments of the pandemic, the health care sector should focus all resources on containing the spread of the disease and make its staff fully-equipped to ensure their absolute safety.
He called on all doctors and medical staff across the country to stay determined and show a high sense of responsibility, together with forces and people, to push back the pandemic.
The PM also urged people nationwide to continue encouraging and working together to support “soldiers in white coats” in the tough and dangerous fight against COVID-19.
He wished medical staff good health, deserving public trust throughout the country and accomplishing the task of caring for and protecting public health.
Two new COVID-19 cases connected to Đà Nẵng Hospital
Two more people connected to Đà Nẵng Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19.
One is a 33-year-old man from Duy Sơn Commune in Quảng Nam Province who is a patient at the hospital’s neurological surgery department.
The other is a man aged 37 who lives in Đại Hiệp Commune, also in Quảng Nam Province and has been taking care of a relative in the hospital's kidney department.
As of Wednesday morning, Việt Nam has seen 672 cases of COVID-19, of which 308 were imported and 224 related to Đà Nẵng City.
According to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, of the active cases nationwide, 18 patients have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, and 13 at least twice.
A little more than 120,000 people are currently quarantined at hospitals, quarantine centres, and their homes.
In the past week, eight people have died of coronavirus-related complications.
Earlier, 18 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Tuesday evening. Of those, 17 were community transmitted cases and one was imported, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control announced.
Sixteen patients were from Đà Nẵng City, aged between 8 and 93. Eight had recently come into close contact with a positive case, five were taking care of family members at Đà Nẵng General Hospital, one was a health worker at the Đà Nẵng Maternity and Paediatrics Hospital, one was a patient at Đà Nẵng General Hospital, and one had medical treatment at Gia Đình Hospital.
One patient who tested positive was a 50-year-old man from Đồng Nai Province’s Quang Vinh Ward. The patient visited a family member who was under treatment at Đà Nẵng General Hospital.
One was a Vietnamese citizen returning from Equatorial Guinea. The 50-year-old man was quarantined after entry at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases’ second branch. His second test was positive.
COVID-19 outbreak brought under control in central region: Deputy PM
The new COVID-19 outbreaks in Đà Nẵng City and Quảng Nam have been brought under control, but the number of infection cases will continue to rise, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.
The number of deaths related to the disease will also increase in the coming days. These are patients in critical conditions, requiring dialysis and emergency resuscitation, according to the committee.
Speaking at a meeting of the committee on Tuesday, Trần Đắc Phu, former director of the Preventive Medicine Department, said based on the sample testing of infected cases and through epidemiological investigations, the number of cases in the community was not high.
Six cases have so far been detected and there have been no cases of infection from these patients. All cases were linked to the three hospitals in Đà Nẵng, he said.
Sample testing in Hà Nội, HCM City and some major medical facilities showed that no COVID-19 infection cases have gone undetected in the community, except for cases related to Đà Nẵng. Thus, there was no evidence to suggest the pandemic was spreading in the community.
A group of scientists and experts who have analysed data and tracked the epidemiology of COVID-19 have said the new outbreak of COVID-19 began in early July. The outbreak was concentrated on three hospitals which have been put under lockdown.
Nguyễn Thanh Long, Acting Minister of Health, said based on consultation with experts and through epidemiological investigation, the ministry said the outbreak started from early July or from July 8-12. Data collected from COVID-19 cases further confirmed this.
In particular, he said, it could be confirmed that this was a new source of virus as it had mutated, resulting in high cross-infection.
Long said the ministry would direct and support Quảng Nam Province like it did Đà Nẵng. The ministry would send more health workers to the region and increase the tracking of infection cases in the community to promptly quarantine, localise and control the disease.
Regarding COVID-19 prevention and control work across the country, the steering committee and experts emphasised that with nearly 100 million people and a 4,000km-long border, there always existed the risk of an outbreak in the community. Therefore, a new normal state must be established for each citizen, family, organisation and the whole society.
According to the committee, the country still has to engage in production, do business, entertain and do necessary things in life, but it is a must to adapt to new conditions and new ways to ensure safety and pandemic prevention and combat.
It was necessary to detect infection cases quickly and promptly isolate them. Health facilities must be available at all the times because primary indications are detected at these facilities.
Addressing the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam, head of the national steering committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control requested that all-out efforts must be paid to stamp out the outbreak.
“This war against the COVID-19 pandemic is still going on as long as there are no vaccines or special medicine for treatment. We have won every battle, every campaign, but not the whole war,” he was quoted by chinhphu.vn as saying.
He said the pandemic had come back to many countries around the world. "There has been a new wave and is still a serious threat."
The outbreak in Đà Nẵng served as a serious warning to all hospitals, localities and agencies, he said.
Actions must be taken to ensure people’s health, particularly the elderly and people with underlying illnesses. Strict regulations on pandemic prevention should be imposed at hospitals to prevent virus transmission to people who visit for treatment, as well as health workers, he said.
The Deputy PM asked communication agencies to spread instructions on pandemic prevention by all means. Localities were requested to strengthen inspections on compliance with the Government’s direction.
If everything was done well, he was confident the country would win the fight against the pandemic. Normal production would be resumed, and new businesses would be developed, he said.
“There may be a second wave of the pandemic elsewhere, but Việt Nam is determined to not let it happen. Social distancing will not be imposed on a national scale again. We have to localise the outbreak on as small a scale as possible, while other regions unaffected by the virus will continue as normal,” the deputy PM said.
Eighteen more new cases of COVID-19 by late August 4
An additional 18 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the past 12 hours, bringing the total tally to 670 as of 6pm on August 4, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.
Of the new cases, 16 were in the central city of Da Nang, one in Dong Nai with links to the Da Nang Hospital, and one was imported.
The 16 new patients in Da Nang were all detected while in quarantine. The patient in Dong Nai had visited a relative in Da Nang Hospital and had close contact with patient 510.
The number of cases with links to the outbreak in Da Nang has risen to 222.
A total of 378 COVID-19 patients have given the all clear so far, while there have been eight fatalities.
Among the patients under treatment, 18 have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, and 13 others negative for at least twice.
More than 133,270 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or returned from pandemic-hit areas are being quarantined across the country.
Four COVID-19 patients discharged from hospital
The Centre for Disease Control in the northern province of Hoa Binh on August 4 said that four COVID-19 patients have fully recovered and discharged from the provincial general hospital.
The four were among 85 Vietnamese students returning to Vietnam from Russia on July 17 and were immediately quarantined upon arrival. Aged 24 and 25, the patients are from Hanoi as well as the northern provinces of Hung Yen and Nam Dinh.
According to the hospital’s director Bui Thu Hang, all tested negative three times for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 as of August 3, and as such qualified to be discharged.
Philippines re-imposes partial lockdown on Luzon amid surge in COVID-19 cases
More than 27 million people in the Philippines' main island of Luzon, including the capital Manila, went back to a partial lockdown for weeks from August 4.
People have been told to stay home unless they need to go out for essential goods, exercise or work since the Philippines has emerged as a new coronavirus hotspot in Asia with the number of recorded infections surging past 100,000.
With only 24 hours' notice of the shutdown, many found themselves stranded in Manila and unable to get back to their hometowns after public transport and domestic flights were halted.
Commuter trains, buses and other public vehicles stayed off the main roads in the Philippine and police were again staffing checkpoints to restrict public travel.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that goverments and citizens should focus on what are known to work – testing, contact tracing, maintaining physical distance and wearing a mask.
Cambodia removes COVID-19 testing requirement for some schools
The Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) has confirmed that several schools will no longer require their staff and students to conduct COVID-19 tests when they are allowed to reopen this month.
The Khmer Times quoted the MoEYS spokesman Ros Soveachea said the ministry and the Ministry of Health agreed that if students, their parents, or staff members of 20 education institutions in the first phase of school re-opening returned from an oversea trip before early June, or have not travelled outside of Cambodia, they do not need to undergo COVID-19 tests.
This proposal was approved by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
However, the MoEYS has yet to confirm which 20 schools will be opened in the coming days, despite many staff already returning to campuses and the schools’ names widely circulated online.
The official noted the ministry is continuing to discuss technical details of “Schools Re-opening Phase One” with the approved 20 schools, which also have to discuss further details with students’ parents for mutual agreement.
The ministry previously said that the approved 20 schools would need to follow the health measures set by the Health Ministry and the World Health Organisation.
The schools must keep their environment clean. Each class must not have more than 15 students while social distancing must be strictly enforced.
As of August 4 morning, Cambodia recorded 241 COVID-19 cases, including 200 recoveries.
All COVID-19 patients returning from Equatorial Guinea show health improvements
All 20 COVID-19 patients returning from Equatorial Guinea are now in good health, said deputy director of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases Nguyen Trung Cap on August 3.
According to him, all 219 Vietnamese workers who returned to Vietnam from Equatorial Guinea on July 29 have been tested and only 20 of them positive for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, he said.
The Vietnamese workers had been stranded in the African country, with initial information asserting that nearly half of them already confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2.
Cap explained that many of the workers were confirmed to be suffering from COVID-19 in Equatorial Guinea but had tested negative now possibly because they had recovered from the disease.
However, health care workers are still cautious and strictly deploying disease preventive measures to avoid risks of cross-infection, he said.
He added that all nine critical patients in the group, including six patients with lung damage and three with malaria, had seen their conditions improve.
“We have been closely monitoring such complicated cases as we foresee risks if we ignore other diseases that the COVID-19 patients also have,” Cap said, adding that so far, there were no serious complications.
The 219 workers, the flight crew of eight and four health care workers who escorted the repatriation flight were taken into quarantine at the Kim Chung branch of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases right after their arrival in Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport.
Earlier, all patients at the hospital were moved to the hospital's campus in downtown Hanoi to make room for, and to be safe from a large number of coronavirus carrying returnees.
Testing – one of “weapons” in COVID-19 fight
The Ministry of Health has mobilised forces for COVID-19 testing at four venues in the central city of Da Nang, home to a new outbreak involving more than one hundreds of cases, according to Deputy Minister Nguyen Truong Son.
The four testing sites are the city disease control centre, Da Nang Lung Hospital, Da Nang General Hospital and Hospital 199 of the Ministry of Public Security, Son said at a meeting with leaders of the municipal People’s Committee on August 1.
In addition, machinery and test kits have been transported from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang, Son said, describing quarantine, contact tracing and extended testing as Vietnam’s “weapons” in the pandemic fight.
The ministry also plans to set up a national emergency storage facility to store necessary medical supplies, possibly at the Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy, Son continued.
Another urgent task is to “clean” up local hospital from COVID-19, and separate those “clean” ones with those which treat COVID-19 patients.
Regarding the building of a field hospital in Da Nang, he said the ministry will establish a consultation group in charge of assessing the hospital’s design quality.
The hospital would be used to treat COVID-19 patients or quarantine F1 cases (which have direct contact with patients) based on the latest situation, he added.
The health ministry on August 1 sent an urgent notice to People’s Committees of cities and provinces, asking them to invest in equipment and workforce for local COVID-19 testing laboratories.
Eligible private medical establishments should be encouraged to participate in providing testing, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, in Hanoi, 481 out of 72,257 people returning from Da Nang have taken PCR testing for the coronavirus, of whom 424 have turned out negative while the remainder are waiting for the result, heard a meeting of the city steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control on August 1.
Local authorities have also identified 127 F1 cases who were quarantined and tested for the virus, with all of their test results were negative.
Meanwhile, 49,829 people have taken quick tests, with 11 positive cases but PCR testing later showed 10 cases were negative and one remaining case is still pending result.
The municipal health department reported there have been no quick test kits left in the city as all have been delivered to medical facilities in districts. Therefore, those returning from Da Nang should quarantine themselves at home and come to medical facilities for check-ups and treatment if they display symptoms of cough and fever.
Given this, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung asked the health department to ask the Ministry of Health for another 20,000 test kits, striving to complete the quick testing on August 2.