Hanoi has requested its localities to remain flexible in the Covid-19 response as the city continues to adjust to a new normal.
Vice Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Nguyen Van Phong made his statement at an online meeting with local districts on November 20.
Hanoi people's life has gradually returned to a new normal. Photo: Duy Khanh
“After a month of new normal, when the capital city resumed many social and economic activities, a total 13% of Covid-19 case contacts in Hanoi are infected, twice as many as compared to previous periods,” Phong said.
Hanoi has recorded around 3,000 new Covid-19 cases since October 10, or around 76 new cases daily, the vice secretary cited, adding that nearly 30% were detected in the community.
“From November 11 to 17, Hanoi confirmed 8,630 close contact cases, with over 1,130 eventually contracting Covid-19. It means even fully vaccinated individuals should keep their guards up, as vaccines alone would only help lessen severity, not infection rates,” Phong noted.
Regarding Covid-19 vaccination for children aged below 18, the vice secretary said a campaign would begin once doses are distributed, but that would depend on the Ministry of Health.
Hanoi has vaccinated more than 6.1 million people, or 93.65% of its adult population, with at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot. As many as 5.1 million people have received two shots, or 70.44% of the adult population, according to Phong.
He stressed that the city’s coronavirus situation is evolving with more complications with an upward trend of new cases of infections. Therefore, Hanoi has ramped up its Covid-19 treatment capabilities.
Director of Hanoi Department of Health Tran Thi Nhi Ha reported that the city has set up over 520 makeshift medical stations at industrial parks and other facilities.
Vice-Chairman of the Hoan Kiem District People's Committee Nguyen Quoc Hoan inspects a makeshift medical station near Hanoi's famous market of Dong Xuan. Photo: Duong Tung
Thirty districts and towns have also dispatched personnel to operate the stations. The goal is to manage Covid-19 cases, perform tests, vaccination, and other tasks, Ha said.
"Plans are prepared so the stations could be activated as soon as the city requests. Along with quick contact tracing efforts, they would help prevent outbreaks from spreading," she added.
Hanoi has also created five facilities to treat mild and asymptomatic Covid-19 cases in five districts, with around 1,150 beds in total. They are located at either cultural and sports centers, schools, or local clinics.
For people exposed to Covid-19 cases, Secretary of Hanoi Party Committee Dinh Tien Dung on November 16 requested to let them be quarantined at home. So far, Nam Tu Liem and Ha Dong districts have done so, Ha said.
She noted that elderly people, pregnant women, children, and those with underlying medical conditions are eligible for home quarantine if they are exposed to positive cases.
The capital city has so far recorded over 7,300 Covid-19 patients and 54 deaths in the fourth coronavirus wave since late April.
Regarding students’ returning to school, Vice Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Nguyen Van Phong asked the municipal Department of Education and Training to make plans so that students of all grades can go back to school without waiting for children to be vaccinated.
He also requested the Hanoi Department of Health to set up a healthcare group promptly responding to the occurrence of Covid-19 cases in schools.
Accordingly, the Hanoi People's Committee has just issued a document to allow students of ninth grade in 17 suburban districts and townships to be the first to return to in-person classes from next week.
Students of ninth grade in Hanoi's outskirt district of Ba Vi came back to school on November 8. Photo: Ngoc Tu
These districts and townships are at low and medium pandemic risk, including Son Tay, Chuong My, Dan Phuong, Dong Anh, Gia Lam, Hoai Duc, Me Linh, My Duc, Phu Xuyen, Phuc Tho, Quoc Oai, Soc Son, Thach That, Thanh Oai, Thanh Tri, Thuong Tin, Ung Hoa.
The remaining grades, and students from the inner city, will continue learning online. Kindergartens will remain closed too, the document said.
Schools are required to meet the safety requirements issued by the Department of Education and Training and the Department of Health. They must make plans to ensure the distance between students and the number of students in each class.
The document noted that teachers who have not received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are not allowed to teach in-person classes.
The local steering committee for Covid-19 prevention and control will suspend in-person learning if the number of infection cases rises to ensure the safety of students and teachers.
The municipal authorities also require schools not to serve meals at school, only teaching one session a day in combination with online teaching.
The Hanoi People’s Committee assigned the Department of Education and Training to coordinate with the Department of Health in guiding the People’s Committees of districts and towns in preparing facilities and implementing preventive measures against the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure safety during face-to-face teaching.
Director of the Department of Education and Training Tran The Cuong told The Hanoi Times that after evaluation of in-person schooling of nine graders in safe districts, the department will consider letting students in other districts come back to schools.
“Schools with students living in different areas of the city must monitor the local regulations of where their students reside, as they may differ from those that apply to the school,” Cuong said.
He added that after the vaccine is distributed, it will be administered at schools so that no students are missed.