Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), the southern economic hub of Vietnam, extended the social distancing order to two more weeks starting from June 15.
|Military personnel conduct disinfection at HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases on June 13. Photo: Ngoc Duong/Thanh Nien
The city imposed the measure after the infection found in nearly 60 health workers in HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases, the largest hospital treating Covid-19 patients in the south.
The Covid-19 has so far swept all 22 districts in the city, leaving 871 cases. HCMC ranks third in terms of infections behind Bac Giang Province (4,166 cases) and Bac Ninh Province (1,360). The southern metropolis has built a scenario of 5,000 infections.
The infection was detected among health workers who got two jabs of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. According to Prof. Nguyen Tan Binh, director of the HCM City Department of Health, they are asymptomatic patients and have a low viral load. [Viral load, also known as a viral burden, is a numerical expression of the quantity of virus in a given volume of fluid.]
The hospital is coordinating with the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit to monitor the clinical progress and viral level of positive cases after the vaccination to assess the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine.
To keep the hospital and patients safe, Dr Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, director of the hospital said the hospital will stop receiving mild Covid-19 inpatients for a week while continuing treating critical ones, mostly those who need extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).
To support HCMC in the fresh outbreak, the Ministry of Health (MoH) on June 14 sent a Standing Task Force in the city led by Deputy Minister Nguyen Truong Son. The force is tasked with supporting the Covid-19 response, quarantine, testing, and treatment. It also supervises data monitoring and supports contact tracing and stamping out community outbreaks.
|Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son (C) works in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: MoH
Given the Covid-19 attack in hospitals, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son asked HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases to impose an entire lockdown for a long run after the one-week temporary isolation from June 12.
“Those non-Covid patients should be regarded as suspected cases and given quarantine if they are transferred to other hospitals,” he said.
Thus far, Covid-19 has swept 40 out of 63 cities and provinces nationwide, including Hanoi and HCMC.
The northern province of Bac Giang remains the epicenter with the widespread transmission reported in industrial parks. The local government targets to bring the infection to zero in two weeks after the Ministry of Health (MoH)’s Standing Task Force left the locality on June 9. The province has resumed part of its four suspended industrial parks of Dinh Tram, Quang Chau, Van Trung, and Song Khe-Noi Hoang where house nearly 400 companies.
Regarding the infections, the number of people who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Vietnam reached 10,810, including imported cases. The death toll was 61 as of June 14.
The pandemic now becomes tenser in the south than in the north. From the cluster linked to the Christian group Revival Ekklesia Mission in HCMC, the outbreak has spread to neighboring provinces of Binh Duong, Dong Nai, and Tay Ninh and some other provinces in the Mekong Delta like Long An, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh, Bac Lieu, and Dong Thap.
|Vietnam's Covid-19 infections. Source: MoH. Chart: Minh Vu