A medical worker guides residents in HCM City's District 3 how to take their own samples at home. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vũ
Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has asked HCM City to conduct city-wide COVID-19 testing during the social distancing period to detect infections early and curb the virus transmission. Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Trường Sơn talks to the Government portal about measures to support the city to fulfill the plan.
The Ministry of Health is the agency who will support HCM City in implementing this plan. The ministry has built a detailed plan with the city’s Department of Health to achieve this. The COVID-19 testing on a large scale across the city has started to be implemented.
Regarding human resources demand for this plan, we will make use of the human resources of the city and support from the Central agencies and at the same time guide residents to take their own samples at home.
At present, the city has enough human resources to conduct city-wide testing, including residential groups that are qualified to guide local residents to take their own samples at home.
People in some residential groups in the city started to take their own samples for COVID-19 testing from Sunday afternoon. The implementation may be a little bit slow at first as people initially need training and guidance but it is expected to become faster.
Will the city face any difficulties in the supply of test kits to implement city-wide testing?
The city has prepared enough for the first large-scale testing with about 5 million quick test kits. The real-time RT-PCR testing systems have so far been able to test 30,000 samples. The ministry has mobilised 10 mobile testing vehicles for the city.
With this preparation, the city can conduct city-wide testing, including using RT-PCR for pooled samples on a large scale for residential areas that are considered safe.
The city has started to carry out the first phase of city-wide testing which is expected to be completed on August 25. After that, we will draw the epidemiologic map again to zone off areas based on risk assessment because test results will lead to a change in the colour code of each region. A green zone (COVID-19 free areas) can move to a yellow zone (areas with a possibility of COVID-19 infection), or from yellow to orange zone (high-risk areas) and from orange to red zone (extremely high-risk areas) or vice versa.
After drawing the map, we and the HCM City will continue the testing plan. Testing will be conducted every 48 hours in red zone and every 72 hours in orange zone. Meanwhile, testing plan will be remained in green and yellow zones, using RT-PCR test for pooled samples of 5-10 people.
What should people and medical workers do to prevent cross infection when conducting city-wide testing?
We will train those who take samples for COVID-19 testing and encourage residents to take their own samples to help reduce cross infection. Medical workers will send videos guiding people how to take their own samples first and then will come to each household to help them to take the samples. People will be provided with the swabs and then return the swabs to medical workers for analysing.
Each household will put their own chair or table in front of their house for the medical worker to put the swabs on. The medical worker will then come back to collect the swabs. People will be informed with the testing results. — VNS