The move, which was announced on May 5 by Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long, comes as Vietnam is seeking to contain the fourth wave of the coronavirus which has spread to various localities across the country.
The extension will increase the period of mandatory quarantine to 21 days as opposed to 14 days at present, and the decision took effect on May 5, said Long, adding that the Ministry of Health has consulted experts on epidemiology and virology to come to the conclusion.
The move aims to protect the community from SARS-CoV-2 infection from people who come into close contact with COVID-19 cases, said the Minister.
The Minister requested that local Departments of Health direct their Centers for Disease Control to strictly comply with regulations on concentrated isolation, in order to prevent cross-contamination in quarantine facilities. In addition, he said those who complete the mandatory quarantine time must be handed over to localities where they live in accordance with regulations.
Local Centers for Disease Control need to thoroughly implement medical supervision and monitoring for these cases in the following seven days.
Minister Long also suggested that all localities launch a COVID-19 epidemic prevention campaign, including conducting a general review of foreigners entering Vietnam and people working at non-essential services such as discotheques, bars, karaoke and massage parlours for COVID-19 testing.
Only swift contact tracing, early quarantine and testing will help Vietnam contain the new outbreak, stressed the Minister.
He also advised people to strictly follow the Ministry of Health’s 5K message in Vietnamese, namely khau trang (facemask), khu khuan (disinfection), khoang cach (distance), khong tu tap (no gathering), and khai bao y te (health declaration).
This morning (May 5), Chairman of the Vinh Phuc Provincial People’s Committee Le Duy Thanh said that in addition to the 14 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection related to a Chinese infected expert, the province currently has eight suspected cases of COVID-19 infection.
Local competent forces have stepped up tracing work and medical isolation for the related cases. The province’s authorities have directed all units to temporarily cancel unnecessary work to focus on the fight against the epidemic with the ultimate goal of protecting people’s health.
The Provincial Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control had an urgent meeting that ran until 2:30 am today, during which they asked local departments to promptly prepare their available equipment and manpower to increase their sampling capacity for COVID-19 to a level five times higher than the current, while tripling the number of hospital beds serving medical isolation, preparing for the activation of field hospitals, strengthening inspection and strictly handling illegal entries.
The province decided to establish nine COVID-19 epidemic control posts at key routes into the province, while preparing plans to organise the election of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and People’s Councils at all levels for the term 2021-2026 in the context of the epidemic, and ramping up vaccinations against COVID-19 for priority groups.
Newly discovered COVID-19 infection case travels around Hanoi and Sapa
Meanwhile, the capital city of Hanoi is on high alert after the Hanoi Centre for Disease Control reported a positive case for SARS-CoV-2 this morning, with a complicated travel schedule.
The 1989-born female patient is from Da Nang, and was on the same flight with two other COVID-19 patients from the central city to Hanoi on April 29. She travelled across the capital before moving to Sa Pa (Lao Cai) the next day. She moved back to Hanoi on May 2 and made a health declaration after receiving notice from the Ministry of Health regarding her flight from Da Nang to Hanoi earlier. She was tested on May 4 and is now isolated and being treated at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases base 2 in Hanoi’s Dong Anh district.
The facility is also on medical isolation from today after a doctor working at the Intensive Care Unit was confirmed as infected on the evening of May 4.
The director of the hospital, Pham Ngoc Thach, signed a decision on suspending the examination and reception of inpatients at both base 2 and base 1 facilities in downtown Hanoi, while authorising testing on staff for SARS-CoV-2 across the entire hospital. During the lockdown period, the hospital will only admit new COVID-19 patients for treatment.
All staff, trainees, patients and their family members at the two facilities are now in quarantine from May 5 until further notice. COVID-19 positive cases undergoing treatment at the hospital have been transferred to a dedicated area. The hospital is urgently completing COVID-19 vaccination for its staff, while patients who have received treatment at the facility within the past 14 days must be traced and placed under quarantine.
In Da Nang on the same day, over 500 traders at the Phuoc My market (Son Tra district) were sampled for COVID-19, after a COVID-19 patient visited the market before testing positive for SARS-CoV-2.
Local traders at Phuoc My market in Da Nang being sampled for COVID-19 on the morning of May 5, 2021. (Photo: NDO/Anh Dao)
Immediately after the sampling was completed, all traders were asked to go home, quarantine themselves, and not to contact anyone until the test results are announced.
Before that, yesterday evening, Son Tra District issued a document to urgently suspending the operation of the Phuoc My market due to the newly-found patient, an employee of Phu An Hotel in Hai Chau district now isolated and being treated at the Da Nang Lung Hospital.
In the neighbouring province of Quang Nam, local authorities decided to suspend a number of activities in Hoi An city to prevent and combat COVID-19 from 0:00 on May 5, due to the complicated epidemic situation.
Accordingly, cultural and sports activities, conferences, seminars, religious ceremonies and other events gathering more than 30 people have been suspended, along with activities at tourist spots and historical-cultural relics of a similar scale.
Activities at amusement and entertainment areas, internet cafes, video game centres, movie theatres, beauty clinics, pubs, bars, karaoke parlours, discos, massage services, walking streets, night markets and public beaches have also been halted.
In addition, educational and training institutions, IT and foreign languages training centres, life skills education facilities and tutoring are also suspended until further notice.
From 0:00 on May 6, Ca Mau province will also suspend the operation of unnecessary services like bars, discos, karaoke parlours, massage services, game rooms and movie theatres with a large concentration of people.
The People’s Committee of Ca Mau instructed functional forces to continue to strengthen inspection and strictly punish cases of violations of epidemic prevention and control measures, especially in relation to the wearing face masks in public places.
Maj. Gen. Nguyen Hung Thang from the Vietnamese Defence Ministry presented a batch of medical supplies to Lieut. Gen. Khamphet Sinanone, including 105,000 masks, 500kg of CloraminB, 5,000 sets of protective suits, 1,000 bottles of sanitisers, 1,000 sets of quick test kits, 1,000 hand-held thermometers worth VND3 billion (US$130,400).
Besides, the Vietnamese Defence Ministry sent four medical experts to Laos on this occasion.
Speaking at the event, Thang said with the practical support, Vietnam hoped that Laos could wipe out the pandemic in the near future.
Khamphet Sinanone hailed the move as vivid evidence of great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two fraternal nations.
He pledged to improve the capacity of medical staff in army hospitals and effectively use medical equipment provided by the Vietnamese side.
According to the owner of apartment A18, from the end of 2018 till the middle of 2019, the district administration has called for investors to participate in the construction project and planned for resettlement; however, the coronavirus pandemic 19 stopped the plan.
By Luong Thien – Translated by Anh Quan