|HCM City receives three flights a day from Middle Eastern countries, with around 550 passengers, and seven flights a day from South Korea with around 1,200 passengers. — Photo vnexpress
HCM CITY (VNS)— Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien visited HCM City yesterday to ensure that measures taken to prevent the spread of MERS were being conducted thoroughly at local hospitals.
Following her visit to the Hospital of Tropical Diseases and Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Tien met with the city's People's Committee. She said that all staff at healthcare centres and hospitals must be better trained in quarantine and prevention procedures.
Southeast Asia's first MERS case was reported yesterday in Thailand, Tien told the committee. A 75-year-old man from Oman was diagnosed with MERS after having travelled from Oman to Bangkok.
She said the Ministry of Health had asked international medical quarantine centres in HCM City to pay close attention to foreign visitors, especially those from epidemic-stricken areas, to detect signs of the virus.
Healthcare facilities have been asked to improve the examination of patients with respiratory complaints and those who have previously been to infected areas.
She said that passengers coming from the Middle East and the Republic of Korea should be checked carefully at international border gates.
All passengers from South Korea, Bahrain and the Middle East must fill out a form at the airport about any symptoms that could be associated with MERS.
Tien said the forms would now be written in Korean as well as English and Vietnamese.
Also speaking at the meeting, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said HCM City must urgently develop a detailed plan to prevent MERS.
Long said the city must have a back-up solution if the Hospital for Tropical Diseases is overloaded so that patients can be transferred to other hospitals.
HCM City receives three flights a day from Middle Eastern countries, with around 550 passengers, and seven flights a day from South Korea with around 1,200 passengers.
Dr Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, director of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in HCM City told Tien that the hospital had established a steering committee on MERS prevention procedures.
The hospital will receive and treat patients suspected of MERS from other healthcare facilities, Chau said, adding that the hospital had also organised training courses on MERS for its staff.
Also on June 19, the Preventive Medicine Department under the Ministry of Health announced that the rumour of a MERS-CoV-infected person residing in the Keangnam Landmark Tower in Ha Noi was false.
The ministry confirmed that as of June 19, Viet Nam had not recorded any single case of MERS-CoV. —VNS