Latest Coronavirus News in Vietnam & Southeast Asia August 8
COVID-19 tracing app Bluezone hits 10 million users
As many as 10 million people out of Vietnam’s 76.8 million smartphone users have downloaded a domestically developed contact-tracing mobile app to identify and alert people who have interacted with COVID-19 patients, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC).
The smartphone app Bluezone relies on Bluetooth signal to log when two users are near each other, information that can later be used for contact tracing of COVID-19 cases.
The app is now available on the Google Play Store and the App Store.
The development of Bluezone is overseen by the MIC and the Ministry of Health. It was launched on April 18.
The MIC has been urging people to install the app, helping sharply increase the number of users. However, the figure is far behind the ministry’s target of 50 million active Bluezone users - the minimum number it believes is needed for the app to have a meaningful impact.
Bluezone would help authorities quickly identify people likely to be COVID-19 patents, helping prevent larger outbreaks of the disease.
Hanoi fines people for not wearing masks in public
Hanoi authorities will start punishing people who do not wear face masks in public for Covid-19 prevention from August 7.
The information was given by chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung at the government’s online meeting on Covid-19 prevention and control with localities in Hanoi on Friday.
Hanoi and many other localities have been warned to face the peak time of the Covid-19 infection in the next 10 days, so the capital city will continue tracing vulnerable people for quarantine.
The city also temporarily banned the operation of karaoke parlours, street food and drink stalls, festivals and mass sports events.
Hanoi has resumed the Covid-19 prevention and control system which is operated all round the clock with more than 10,000 quick response groups.
The city has prepared facilities to quarantine around 7,000-8,000 people at the same time, including 800 people who will return from Danang in some days to come.
Hanoi is also providing Covid-19 tests for all people coming back from Danang since July 15.
Meanwhile, strict Covid-19 prevention regulations will be carried out to ensure the safety for the coming high school graduation examination. Each room will have only 24 students, sitting at a safe distance. Students have to wear face masks and be given with temperature checks before coming into the examination room.
Under the government’s Decree 11 issued in 2013, people who do not wear face masks as stipulated can face a maximum fine of VND300,000 (USD13).
Nha Trang Pasteur Institute continues receiving Covid-19 test samples
Nha Trang Pasteur Institute in the central province of Khanh Hoa has announced that it will continue Covid-19 testing thanks to the medical material support from some units.
Nha Trang Pasteur Institute has sent its document to the Department of Health and Disease Control Centre of 11 cities and provinces in the central region about the announcement.
On Wednesday night, the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and some firms provided some medical materials for Nha Trang Pasteur Institute to help ease shortages to allow the institute to continue Covid-19 testing.
However, the testing will be prioritised for localities facing high risk of infection and those which are in the process of testing system installation.
On Thursday, Nha Trang Pasteur Institute provided Covid-19 testing for 209 people in Binh Thuan; 422 in Quang Ngai, three in Quang Tri and 50 in Khanh Hoa.
The institute previously announced that it would temporarily suspend Covid-19 testing because of the lack of biological medicinal products, chemicals and materials for testing. So, any locality that wants to send Covid-19 test samples to the institute has to attach biological medicinal products, test kits and materials in order for the tests to be completed.
According to Nguyen Dac Tai, vice chairman of the provincial people’s committee, the province has approved a plan to spend around VND2.7 billion (USD117,391) to buy 4,000 test kits and biological medicinal products. However, this has not yet been implemented due to some administrative problems related to price and quality appraisal. This has meant all Covid-19 tests in the province have been carried out by Nha Trang Pasteur Institute.
At present, Nha Trang Pasteur Institute is being overloaded by Covid-19 testing.
Tai added the large number of Covid-19 tests included thousands for those returning from abroad.
The Khanh Hoa People’s Committee is seeking opinions from higher management agencies to devise appropriate solutions.
By 11 am on Thursday, the province quarantined 944 people for Covid-19 prevention.
Vietnam confirms five new COVID-19 cases
|Medical workers conduct quick tests for people returning from COVID-19-hit regions|
Vietnam reported five new COVID-19 caseson August 8 morning, including three community cases relating to Da Nang city and two imported.
Of the three community cases, patent 785 is a 42-year-old man living in Duc Thuong commune, Hoai Duc district, Hanoi.
He and his family travelled to Da Nang city between July 16 and 20. On August 3, he started to develop a cough and was taken to the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases’ branch 2 in Dong Anh district on August 6.
He was tested and results released on August 7 showed that he was positive for the SARS-CoV-2.
Two other community cases in the central province of Quang Ngai are people who came into close contact with the other patients carrying the virus.
The two important cases are citizens who were repatriated from Mexico transiting through Japan on August 5. They are both being treated at Khanh Hoa Tropical Diseases Hospital.
Earlier, Vietnam confirmed 34 more COVID-19 infection cases at 6pm on August 7.
There were 22 new patients in Da Nang, eight in Quang Nam, one in Hanoi and one in Hai Duong who are all related to Da Nang, and two imported in Ho Chi Minh City and Ba Ria – Vung Tau each.
There has now been 789 people testing positive for COVID-19 since the first case was detected in January. Of those, 316 returned to Vietnam from other countries and territories.
Since July 25 when community infections resurged in Da Nang, 333 people connected to the central city have tested positive.
There are currently 166,521 people quarantined nationwide, including 6,939 at hospitals, 24,446 at other concentrated quarantine facilities and 135,146 at their homes.
Out of the total number of people who have contracted the virus, 395 or 50.1 percent have made full recovery, and to date, there have been 10 fatalities.
More provinces offer help to Da Nang in COVID-19 fight
The central province of Thua Thien-Hue will send its first group of 40 doctors and nurses to help neighbouring Da Nang city fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the southern province of Dong Nai will provide central Da Nang city and nearby Quang Nam province each with 3 billion VND (nearly 258,000 USD) to support its combat against COVID-19.
Earlier, the south-central province of Binh Dinh decided to send 25 physicians, doctors, and nurses to Da Nang.
A team of medical workers from the northern city of Hai Phong also flew to the central city on August 5.
In addition, Hai Phong has given Da Nang and Quang Nam province 5 billion VND (216,800 USD) and 200,000 medical face masks each.
As of 6pm on August 7, Vietnam confirmed 784 COVID-19 cases, including 330 linked to the outbreak in Da Nang since July 25.
Among 34 cases reported on August 7 evening, 22 are in Da Nang, eight in Quang Nam, one in Hanoi and one in Hai Duong who are all related to Da Nang, and two imported in Ho Chi Minh City and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
HCM City: Returnees from Da Nang may be sent to quarantine
Some 700 tourists arriving at HCM City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport from the central city of Da Nang over the days to come may be quarantined for 14 days at concentrated facilities, a recent meeting of HCM City authorities heard.
The decision was made to curb the spread of the coronavirus, after cases of community transmission were found in the city in the last few days.
To ease any overload at Tan Son Nhat, residents from localities in Military Zone 7 are set to land at the airport while those in Military Zone 9 will land in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.
Passengers must provide full and accurate information and addresses for the two to three days prior to their flight.
At the meeting, agencies also suggested that Da Nang city, where this latest COVID-19 outbreak appears to have begun, conduct tests on tourists before they leave the city.
As of August 6, HCM City had reported 69 COVID-19 infections and one patient who was transferred from the Mekong Delta’s Bac Lieu province. Sixty-two have been given the all-clear.
More than 870 people with close contact with those infected have been identified, with 243 now undergoing quarantine at concentrated facilities, according to the city’s Department of Health.
Nearly 43,900 people returning recently from Da Nang have made health declarations, while about 30,580 had samples taken, the department said.
Hanoi bus stations tighten preventive measures against Covid-19
Many bus stations in Hanoi have started tightening preventive measures against Covid-19 including asking passengers to fill in medical declaration forms.
Stronger measures were applied as directed by the Ministry of Transport and Hanoi People's Committee. Ly Truong Son, director of My Dinh Bus Station said they had put up banners to raise public awareness about the outbreak, prepared handwash and asked staffs and passengers to wear face masks.
All vehicles have been disinfected at the station after dropping off passengers. The station's hall is also disinfected twice a day. Due to the new outbreak, the number of passengers at My Dinh Station has dropped by 20-30%.
Bui Van Hung, a driver on Hanoi-Quang Ninh route, said, "Passengers must wash their hands before getting into the bus and submit their travel history."
At Nuoc Ngam Station, passengers must have a body temperature check and asked to wear face masks before entering the station.
More Vietnamese citizens from Taiwan, Singapore flown home
Authorities of Vietnam and Taiwan (China), the Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei and budget carrier Vietjet worked together to carry 230 Vietnamese citizens home on August 7.
Passengers included the elderly, students aged under 18, workers whose labour contracts expired, pregnant women and stranded travellers.
Vietjet seriously followed regulations on security, safety and epidemiological hygiene during the flight.
After landing at Cam Ranh international airport in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, all crewmembers and passengers were given health checks and put under quarantine in line with regulations.
The same day, Vietnamese authorities coordinated with the Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore and national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines also took over 300 Vietnamese citizens to the homeland.
They were also given health checks and quarantined after landing at Can Tho international airport in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.
In the near future, similar flights will bring more Vietnamese citizens home, considering the domestic pandemic situation and quarantine capacity.
Vingroup presents 3,200 ventilators to Health Ministry
Vingroup, the country’s leading real estate and retail conglomerate, on August 7 donated the first batch of 3,200 ventilators to the Ministry of Health to help combat the latest coronavirus outbreak.
The package, including 3,000 VSMART VFS-410 ventilators and 200 invasive ventilators VFS-510, will be delivered to the Ministry of Health in two phases. The first 1,700 ventilators, including 200 VFS-510 devices, will be handed over within a week, starting August 7.
Addressing the handover ceremony, Acting Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long thanked Vingroup for lending a helping hand to the country's joint effort to curb the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
He singled out the group as a pioneer in Vietnam that has successfully researched and developed ventilator models to replace imported ones when supply chains were disrupted globally due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vingroup was also the biggest donor that offered more than VND100 billion to the medical sector to purchase medical supplies at the start of the first outbreak several months ago, Long recalled.
He expressed hope the group’s gifts will help the medical sector better treat COVID-19 patients, especially those in critical condition.
Vietnam is in dire need of ventilators which are utilized to treat severe coronavirus patients. Since the fresh coronavirus outbreak occurred in Da Nang two weeks ago, many severe and critically ill cases have been reported.