Health Minister Nguyễn Thanh Long reports COVID-19 prevention and control in southern localities at the meeting chaired by PM Phạm Minh Chính on Thursday morning. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang
HÀ NỘI — HCM City is converting empty resettlement buildings into field hospitals to help cope with swelling numbers of patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
In all 2,600 apartments will be made available in the Thủ Thiêm New Urban Area in Thủ Đức City. A further nine field hospitals are also under construction and when completed will bring the total number of field hospitals in the city to 24 providing additional 44,890 beds.
HCM City has been under increasing pressure to find more beds for COVID patients as numbers tipped more than 14,000.
The city has prepared for a scenario whereby the total number of patients reaches 50,000 COVID-19.
The southern city's authorities have asked the Construction Department and other relevant agencies to repair and ensure basic infrastructure such as water and electricity supply, and hygiene services at the buildings are functional so that they can be used as proper field hospitals or concentrated quarantine areas.
In an online conference held on Thursday, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính, told authorities in 27 southern provinces that priority must be given to people’s health and safety.
Outbreaks in the southern provinces, from Phú Yên to Cà Mau, particularly HCM City and other key economic hubs, were becoming complicated, he went on.
He also said localities should share their experience in disease prevention and control so that good results can be replicated. They should also seek solutions for any shortcomings they come across.
The localities were also asked to put forward to the Government, ministries and agencies solutions to quickly and effectively get the outbreak under control.
PM Chính asked local authorities to set up support centres, hotlines, and volunteer groups to support people in need.
PM Chính also urged localities and agencies to offer support to employers and employees who are badly affected by the COVID-19 as following the Government’s Resolution 68.
The fourth wave of COVID-19 in Việt Nam has seen 34,582 cases with 33,909 locally transmitted cases, 7,547 recoveries and 100 deaths at the time of the conference.
Eleven provinces nationwide have not reported any new cases in the last 14 days. Seven provinces have not had secondary infections.
In one week, Việt Nam reported 8,187 new cases in 34 provinces and cities. Sharp increases were seen in HCM City ( 6.338 cases), Bình Dương (458 cases), Tiền Giang (280 cases), Đồng Nai (222 cases), Đồng Tháp (161 cases), Long An (129 cases), Khánh Hòa (117 cases) and Vĩnh Long (114 cases).
Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic was still very complicated in many areas around the world with more dangerous variants that pose a serious threat even in countries with high vaccination coverage.
Long said that Việt Nam should expect cases to continue to rise.
“As outbreaks occurred at wholesale markets, industrial parks and crowding residential areas, in the coming days, HCM City will continue to see an increase in the number of new cases,” he said.
Neighbouring provinces and other southern localities like Bình Dương, Long An and Đồng Nai should also expect to see a rise in new infections.
Social distancing measures, under the Prime Minister's Directive 16, were enacted in HCM City on July 9 and are in place for 15 days.
In northern and central provinces, the numbers of new cases have declined compared to those of last week. However, the risk of outbreaks remains as many people will return to the city from southern localities, Long said.
The health ministry sent about 10,000 healthcare workers and volunteers, in 24 teams, to HCM City to quickly implement disease prevention and control measures.
The ministry has also issued guidelines on home quarantine for F1s (people having close contacts with confirmed COVID-19 cases or suspected to get SARS-CoV-2). The quarantine period has also been reduced for F1s and arrivals from other countries to 14 days instead of 21.
At present, 26,937 COVID-19 patients are under treatment. More than 270,660 people were quarantined including 3,564 at health facilities, 77,435 at concentrated quarantine areas and nearly 190,000 at their accommodations. — VNS