Hanoi's authorities will conduct massive screening tests on more than three million residents, with 1.3 million samples analyzed by RT-PCR and two million by quick tests, according to the municipal People's Committee.
It is expected that from August 9-17, Hanoi’s health sector will test some 1.3 million samples taken from the high-risk areas, including outbreak clusters and neighborhoods of high population density, and groups of highly exposed people such as transportation service workers, retailers, drivers, employees in industrial parks, and those in public sanitation.
To prepare for the large-scale screening test, Hanoi has increased its testing capacity to over 200,000 samples per day. Besides, the city has mobilized staff from national hospitals and personnel from the central government, police, and army for the sampling and testing campaign.
The Hanoi Department of Health has assigned district-level authorities to assess the risk in each area by categorizing them into three types including the “yellow zone” (risk zone) and “orange zone” (high-risk zone), and isolate the “red zone” (the hotspots classified as those with the highest caseload).
A trader at Long Bien market in Hanoi was sampled for Covid-19 testing. Photo: Viet Linh
Director of the municipal Department of Health Tran Thi Nhi Ha said that this is the largest sample collection ever in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The city’s health sector is determined to implement the plan as quickly as possible to achieve the goal of detecting and cordoning off the outbreak," Ha stressed.
In the past few days, the average number of new Covid-19 cases per day in the city is 69. Since late April, Hanoi has recorded 2,080 positive cases of coronavirus, among them, 1,111 patients were detected in the community.
Hanoi’s health director noted that the city’s health authorities must take advantage of the 15 days under the extended social distancing phase to isolate infection cases from the community.
“We need to take advantage of every minute, by all means, to make the most of the golden period of social distancing to control the pandemic and bring the city back to the new normal,” she said.
In another move, to ensure the food supply for Hanoi residents who are under stay-at-home order, the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade has partnered with the Department of Transport to allow e-commerce delivery services. Specifically, the movement of the shippers of the supermarket system and e-commerce platforms is possible unless they comply with strict Covid-19 protocols.
Dao Viet Long, deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Transport, said that his department has issued a confirmation code via text message to two-wheeler shippers allowing them to deliver essential goods and postal items.
Experts said that Hanoi needs to promote the vaccination rate for the elderly to curb Covid-19 deaths. Photo: Duy Hieu
Dr. Nguyen Thu Anh, director of Woolcock Institute of Medical Research in Vietnam, said that Hanoi's large-scale testing campaign is very appropriate for the current situation when cases detected through screening are mounting every day.
Besides, another important goal is to curb the number of Covid-19 deaths by vaccination, Thu Anh noted.
She said Hanoi is speeding up Covid-19 vaccination, but the percentage of people over 60 being inoculated is still low, adding the data has proven in many countries that older people are the most susceptible to illness aggravation and deaths.
Dr. Nguyen Huy Nga, former director of the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health, said that the licensed Covid-19 vaccines are very safe for the elderly, which have been tested on tens of thousands of elderly volunteers around the world.
Vaccination will help elderly people with milder illness when they, unfortunately, acquire the novel coronavirus who could even treat themselves at home, Nga stressed.