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Gov't acts quickly to keep out Ebola threat

Update: August, 23/2014 - 08:44
Inspectors from the Ministry of Health and the Ha Noi People's Committee check Ebola quarantine and prevention at Noi Bai International Airport in Ha Noi. — VNA/VNS Photo

HCM CITY  (VNS) — Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long yesterday ordered hospitals to be fully prepared with medicines and protective gear for doctors, nurses, and health officials in case of an Ebola breakout.

He told an online meeting on containing Ebola that the increasing global incidence of the disease has raised the risk of the virus entering the country and that the risk of the disease's spread in hospitals is high.

Prevention is going to be very vital, he said.

All international passengers are being screened using infrared body-temperature system at airports and borders. People arriving from four West African countries affected by Ebola outbreaks have to fill out health declaration forms.

So far this month 83 people have come from these countries and are under close surveillance, but have been found to be normal, Long said.

A council with health experts and WHO experts to assess whether laboratories meet the standards for Ebola testing would soon be set up, he said.

The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, HCM City Pasteur Institute, and hospitals like the HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases have bio-safety level III laboratories with the capacity to diagnose the disease.

But they still await assessment by the ministry and WHO.

Phan Trong Lan, head of the HCM City Pasteur Institute, said testing for Ebola can be done in four to six hours, but WHO needs to approve the process.

The institute has also set up six teams to assist localities fight the disease if it occurs, he added.

Nguyen Huy Nga, head of the Health Environment Management Department, said the department has issued guidelines on waste disposal at hospitals if the disease breaks out and what patients' families have to do to contain the spread. — VNS

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