Hanoi is facing higher risk of the Covid-19 spreading, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said at a working session with the city’s leaders on November 2, urging local residents to keep vigilant and be ready for a worse situation.
Dam, who is also deputy chairman of the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control, highly praised Hanoi’s authorities and the city's response to the fourth outbreak.
However, the city must now deploy strict and drastic measures to stop the spread of the disease in the community, isolate the Covid-hit areas, protect and expand coronavirus-free areas and take steps to reduce the risk of further outbreaks, the deputy PM stressed.
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam speaks at the working session with Hanoi city’s leaders. Photo: The Hanoi Times
“People in every residential group, in every hamlet have the responsibility to protect themselves from Covid-19. Collective efforts are key to successfully controlling the disease,” Dam said, adding that the private health sector in the city should be further engaged in testing work.
Higher risk remains
According to Director of the Hanoi Department of Health Tran Thi Nhi Ha, during the fourth wave of Covid-19 in the country, Hanoi has reported 4,692 Covid-19 cases, of this number, more than 1,000 were detected in the community outside concentrated quarantine areas or areas under lockdown.
“The city is now able to control the outbreaks. However, the risk remains high and unpredictable because serious Covid-19 clusters have appeared around the city with high number of infections,” Ha said.
For his part, Deputy Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Van Phong said that Hanoi has always determined to remain active in the pandemic prevention.
“If the Covid-19 outbreak in Hanoi is as severe as the southern provinces, it will greatly affect national resources. The capital city must raise warning on coronavirus risk to a higher level,” Phong said.
He suggested the Ministry of Health issue guidelines which are suitable to the characteristics of big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on criteria for risk assessment and pandemic level.
A medical worker take samples for Covid-19 testing at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi. Photo: Ngoc Tu
Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam suggested that Hanoi should study and pilot quarantining Covid-19 infections at home, draw on experiences gained during practice, develop protocols on home quarantine and provide training for lower-level medical staff.
Dam also assigned the Ministry of Health to soon arrange enough vaccines for Hanoi to fully inject all people over 18 years old.
Regarding the roadmap for students to return to school, the Deputy PM asked Hanoi to closely assess the safety and health of students.
“The World Health Organization has not yet officially recommended vaccination for children under 12 years old. However, it is impossible to wait for the full vaccination or the end of the pandemic to allow students to return to school. Hanoi needs to base itself on its own reality and gradually open up in a flexible manner,” Dam said.
Earlier, the People’s Committee of Hanoi on November 1 night issued an urgent plan to deal with Covid-19 outbreak risk as the city identified two Covid-19 high-risk areas in outskirt districts of Me Linh and Quoc Oai.
The plan was made amid more serious evolution of the pandemic when a number of Covid-19 clusters, infected by people returning to Hanoi from pandemic-hit regions, have been spreading quickly.
The municipal People's Committee requested all localities to assess high-risk areas, especially populous residential areas and concentrated quarantine facilities, while taking the initiative in making decisions on stiffer pandemic control measures.