A field hospital in HCM City's District 7 is under construction. — VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Tình
HCM CITY — HCM City is considering extending its current social distancing period for one to two weeks as part of an effort to curb the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, Phan Văn Mãi, deputy secretary of the HCM City Party Committee, said at a press meeting on Wednesday.
The current social distancing period under the Government’s Directive No 16 will end on August 1. On that day, the city will assess the COVID-19 outbreak and make a decision on the extension.
Although most people have complied with the ban on not going out between 6pm and 6am, streets are still crowded during the daytime.
Mãi said that Thủ Đức city and all city districts should strengthen inspections to limit overcrowding.
Stronger punishments will be imposed on violators, he said. City departments and agencies that do not carry out COVID-19 prevention and control under Directive No.16 will also be punished.
As 70,000 COVID-19 patients are now being treated, the city is changing its treatment strategy.
More health workers will provide advice to COVID-19 patients quarantined at home. After calling hotline 1012, patients can press extension number 3 to receive assistance.
People in home quarantine will receive emergency aid from city task forces.
The city has asked the Ministry of Health to provide more vaccines and streamline procedures for vaccinations, according to the Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention.
About 300,000 designated people in the city have been vaccinated in the fifth phase of vaccination drive, which started on July 22.
The phase will end in the next two or three weeks.
The city plans to provide vaccinations after 6pm soon. Each ward and district will regulate the number of designated people and give them a document that allows them to go outside during that time. Two vaccination sites will be set up in each ward and commune.
Ensuring smooth circulation
The HCM City People’s Committee has instructed the Department of Transport, police, authorities in Thủ Đức city and all city districts to give priority to trucks carrying essential goods.
Trucks transporting essential goods and food will not be stopped at checkpoints if they have been issued identification papers with QR codes by the Department of Transport.
Trucks whose drivers and assistants have negative test results within the last 72 hours will be allowed to go through checkpoints if they are carrying essential goods or materials, equipment and accessories for production, even if they have not yet received the identification paper with the QR code.
Taxis that have been issued QR codes by the Department of Transport to serve essential cases, such as taking people to the hospital, are allowed to travel in the city. — VNS
115 Emergency Communication Centre
HCM City has launched another 115 Emergency Communication Centre at the Quang Trung Software Park in District 12 to increase emergency response capacity and to meet residents’ high demand.
Lâm Đình Thắng, director of the city Department of Information and Communications, said the new centre has 40 transmission lines, and might increase up to 100 lines if necessary.
He added that the current centre had only 14 transmission lines, while the number of calls was more than 5,000 a day in recent days, leading to an overload.
However, due to a lack of personnel, the new centre can put only 16 lines in operation with 20 operators and 30 volunteers from the University of Medicine Phạm Ngọc Thạch.
The centre plans to recruit 100 volunteers from the university to put all 40 lines in operation soon.
Thắng said the city’s 1022 portal for receiving information on COVID-19 control and prevention in 24 hours was overloaded as well.
The department plans to use callbots to receive calls soon, because the number of calls at the same time is too large to respond. The callbot is expected to receive 3,600 calls per hour.
According to the department, the portal now has 120 operators working in four shifts.
Since the portal opened at 6pm on July 22, it has had more than 217,700 coming calls. Many of them have been missed because of the lack of operators. — VNS