Vietnam COVID-19 Updates (Feb 18): Hanoi to test all people from pandemic-hit areas

People who return to Hanoi from pandemic-hit Hai Duong to Hanoi from February 2 are required to test for COVID-19.
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Photo: MOH

18 new COVID-19 cases reported

Vietnam saw 18 new locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases from 6 am to 6 pm on February 17, all in Hai Duong - the country's current largest hotbed, raising the national count to 2,329, reported the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control. No new cases were found on the morning of February 18. All the new cases were detected in quarantine sites. So far, the total number of community infections is 1,430.

The Health Ministry advised people to remain proactive in pandemic prevention and control by continuing to wear face masks when going out, disinfecting frequently, maintaining a safe distance, refraining from gatherings, and making medical declarations.

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Photo: MOH

Quang Ninh offers Covid-19 test on-demand to enable post-Tet travel

Quang Ninh Province, the second biggest Covid-19 hotspot, is offering tests on-demand to enable people to travel now that the Lunar New Year holidays have ended. Six healthcare facilities in the northern province Tuesday began offering the test at a maximum cost of VND734,000 ($32). The seven-day Tet break saw people all over the country return home to their extended family and gather to celebrate the arrival of the new lunar year, increasing the chances of the disease’s spread.

The six facilities are Quang Ninh Provincial Hospital, Bai Chay Hospital, Quang Ninh Obstetrics and Pediatrics Hospital, Quang Ninh Center for Disease Control (CDC), Vietnam - Sweden Hospital, and Vinmec International General Hospital. If companies and other organizations want their employees tested, the hospitals will send personnel to collect samples. If anyone tests positive, they will inform that person directly by phone and notify the province CDC.

Right on the first morning, the Quang Ninh Obstetrics and Pediatrics Hospital collected almost 200 samples. Technically, the test results should take 24 hours, though in the province it could take longer because of the numbers.

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Photo: VN Express

HCMC equipped with automated Covid-19 testing system

The HCMC Center for Disease Control (HCDC) on Wednesday was equipped with the automated Covid-19 testing system worth VND5.2 billion ($224,144) that hastens the process by up to 40 percent.

The Cobas 4800 system utilizes real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technology for Covid-19 testing, capable of processing 96 samples at once and returning results within two hours, the HCDC said. While the center already has five RT-PCR machines, worth VND2.5 billion each, they involve more manual procedures and so require more time and labor force, the center added.

The system's sponsor was not identified. Nguyen Hoai Nam, deputy director of the HCDC, said automating Covid-19 testing would save time by up to 40 percent and also reduce exposure risks for medical workers. The automated systems would also help boost HCMC's testing capacity, he added. The city is currently capable of testing up to 150,000 samples a day, according to the HCMC Department of Health.

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Photo: VN Express

Hai Duong found transmission source for a complicated series of cases

Previously, on the mass media, there was information about a series of cases involving a family in Hai Duong city whose source of transmission was unknown, causing a lot of confusion for people in Hai Duong over the past 1 day.

According to the special tracking team in Hai Duong province, patient 2287 discovered through community-based fever and cough surveillance - 1 in 4 patients of the complicated family case in the city was discovered and clearly identified by a special tracking team.

Accordingly, on January 21, 2021, patient 2287 was exposed to case 1734, who, in turn, attended the wedding outbreak in Nam Tan commune, Nam Sach district, Hai Duong province. Thus, according to the determination of the special tracking team in Hai Duong province, up to now, the source of infection in the case has been identified and clarified. Currently, Hai Duong province has mobilized the whole political system, maintained a high concentration, preventing the COVID-19 pandemic at the earliest, trying to bring a new normal life to the people.

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Photo: VNA

Hanoi to test all people from pandemic-hit areas

On the afternoon of February 17, the Steering Committee in Hanoi met online for the 91st session, chaired by the Vice-Chairman of the City People's Committee Chu Xuan Dung. Reporting at the meeting, Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Health Hoang Duc Hanh said that in Hai Duong, the pandemic was still complicatedly developing, many districts recorded new cases of COVID-19.

At the request of districts to test for people returning from Hai Duong, Vice Chairman Chu Xuan Dung suggested focusing on expanding testing and health monitoring for those people. At the same time, he confirmed to test all people return to Hanoi from Hai Duong since 0:00 am February 2, in which, people from Cam Giang would be prioritized for testing. After Cam Giang, the mass test would be applied to people from other parts of Hai Duong, as well as 11 high-risk provinces and cities. 100% of people who returned from Hai Duong to Hanoi before February 21 will be tested, he said.

In addition, the city expands randomized testing in factories, industrial parks, export processing zones, especially at high-risk places for officials and workers returning from other localities. and ex-pat specialists; medical staff, with priority given to high-risk areas, and isolation ward staff.

The new cases bring the national tally to 2.329. Among patients still undergoing treatment, 46 have tested negative for the virus once, 33 twice and 25 thrice.

At present, a total of 144.071 people who had close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients or entered Vietnam from pandemic-hit regions are being under quarantine nationwide, including 577 in hospitals, 14.325 in state-designated establishments, and 129.169 others at home or accommodations.

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Valerie Mai
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