Medical workers take COVID-19 test samples from a resident in Đà Nẵng City. VNA/VNS Photo
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Trường Sơn, who led a ministerial special task force to Đà Nẵng to help with COVID-19, speaks to the press on pandemic prevention and combat work.
How do you assess the pandemic situation in Đà Nẵng?
For Đà Nẵng, we are currently trying to make all efforts to localise the hotspots hit by COVID-19, identify F1 cases – people who have been in contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases – and quarantine them.
I hope we will soon use mass testing to continue detecting F1 cases and that people comply with Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s Directive 16 on social distancing to prevent the spread of the disease in the community.
Đà Nẵng has been the focal point of outbreaks in recent days with high rates of infection. How does the Ministry of Health plan to support the city in terms of human resources?
We know that the city has a plan to cope with the worst scenario. When the number of patients rises beyond the capacity of Đà Nẵng Field Hospital, an exhibition area will be used for the construction of another site.
We hope that with drastic actions of authorities at all levels, health departments and support from the central Government, the number of infected cases will be reduced.
The task force was authorised by the Ministry of Health to mobilise resources across the country in case of need. Currently, leading professionals and doctors have been dispatched to Đà Nẵng.
In the future, if the pandemic spreads further, we will mobilise more experts on epidemiology, treatment and testing as well as equipment to support the city.
Đà Nẵng is about to put into operation field hospitals. How are you preparing facilities and human resources for the hospitals?
The most important thing is to ensure the safety of patients including reception and treatment.
The second thing is to ensure a safe medical environment and safe conditions for health workers to take care of patients.
We have inspected a field hospital at Tiên Sơn Sports Centre. We think this is a wise decision of the municipal leaders and health sector.
We have assigned staff of the ministry’s task force to supervise and support the hospital management board during construction to ensure patient safety.
The Ministry of Health plans to send highly-skilled health workers to assist Đà Nẵng’s health sector at the field hospital.
Experts have predicted the number of infection cases as well as the number of deaths related to the disease will continue to rise. Most of the deaths are patients in critical condition, requiring dialysis and emergency resuscitation. What is your recommendation for residents?
Given the current situation, we strongly recommend that people of Đà Nẵng follow the PM’s directive No 16 on social distancing. Accordingly, residents should keep a safe distance between people and households.
All suspected cases should inform local health stations immediately.
People should trust the health sector’s treatment. Modern equipment including ventilators and Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) technology have been put into use for treatment of serious cases. In addition, the world’s research achievements on drugs and testing to quickly identify suspected positive cases in the community have also been adopted.
What has been done to protect health workers in the battle against COVID-19?
In the fight against COVID-19, health workers in the hospitals are soldiers on the front line. We know that protecting health workers from casualties is very important in every fight.
It is sad that there have been health workers in Đà Nẵng infected with COVID-19, but it occurred before the first infection case was detected. Then, the Ministry of Heath has directed the city’s health sector to strengthen safety in hospitals, as well as among medical staff, patients and their relatives.
We are touched and thankful to health workers on the front line against COVID-19 in Đà Nẵng, Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi and Thừa Thiên-Huế provinces. We believe with their efforts and the professional support of experts, physicians will complete the mission, and the outbreak will be stamped out. — VNS