People at a vaccination site at Nguyễn Tri Phương hospital in HCM City’s District 5. — VNS Photo Bồ Xuân Hiệp
HCM CITY — HCM City plans to begin vaccinating people aged 12-18 from September if there is a suitable vaccine source, according to city authorities.
Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the city People’s Committee, said the city targets vaccinating at least 70 per cent of people aged 18 and above (with one dose) and fully vaccinating 15 per cent (with two doses) by September 15.
The remaining 15 per cent of workers in industrial parks, export processing zones and high-tech zones will receive their first dose by September 15. The city will begin to provide the second dose to workers as soon as possible, he added.
The city will publicise all information related to vaccinations to ensure transparency.
The city administration has asked the Vaccination Working Group to negotiate and buy vaccines and the Coordination Centre for COVID-19 Vaccinations to work with agencies to advise the city on the vaccination scheme.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Dương Anh Đức, vice chairman of the People’s Committee, said the city was focusing on reducing the death rate and providing effective treatment strategies.
The city is continuing to expand the number of hospitals and treatment facilities to meet the needs of emergency, oxygen support, medical care and home treatment for COVID patients.
“The city aims to reduce the death rate in the next 30 days,” Đức said.
More than 41,200 COVID patients are being monitored and treated at home, including 25,655 people who have already recovered and were discharged from the hospital and continue to be quarantined at home, according to the HCM City Centre for Disease Control (HCDC).
As many as 13,569 patients are being treated at concentrated isolation facilities in city districts.
The number of F1 cases (close contacts of COVID patients) in concentrated isolation is 3,357, while the number of F1 cases isolated at home is 12,656 people.
The Ministry of Health on Monday began piloting a programme in HCM City to have COVID-19 patients treated at home with medicines, health supplements and care instructions.
Tests will be carried out at home and in the community, and medicines and health supplements will be provided to patients who will be closely monitored by medical experts.
Food and groceries will be provided to households with patients as family members will not be allowed to go out.
The ministry will provide detailed guidelines on taking care of patients, monitoring their health, and seeking medical assistance if their condition worsens.
Helping COVID patients at home access medical care in time will reduce the burden on treatment facilities and fatality rates, Đức said.
He said the city has also been trialling a programme to have asymptomatic patients quarantined at home since mid-July, as permitted by the Ministry of Health.
The city has asked the Department of Health to provide complete guidance on home-based care to patients so they will feel psychologically comfortable and, if their symptoms worsen, can be transferred to hospitals in time.
Between 70 and 80 per cent of COVID patients will be able to recover if they receive timely care and support from the health sector and local authorities.
“Most cases treated at home have been able to fully recover within a week (with negative test) with medicine and instructions provided by the health sector,” Đức said.
The capacity of the city's medical facilities has been exceeded, and there is an urgent need for 12,000 more doctors and nurses to treat symptomatic patients with underlying medical conditions.
The city is also speeding up vaccinations, but experts have warned that even with a high vaccination rate, people need to continue to practise social distancing measures until the pandemic is controlled around the world.
According to the HCDC, as of 6am on Monday, the city had recorded 151,904 cases, including 151,507 locally transmitted cases and 397 imported cases.
HCM City, the country’s COVID epicentre, is currently treating 33,149 COVID patients, including 2,122 children under 16 years old, according to HCDC. Of the number, nearly 1,900 critically ill patients need ventilators and 15 patients need ECMO intervention.
As many as 72,873 patients have recovered. — VNS
City allows some businesses to resume
As HCM City continues to extend social distancing under the Government’s Directive No.16 until September 15, the city will allow some businesses to resume operation.
These include production establishments for food such as bread, tofu, vermicelli, and others; notary offices; and services such as maintenance, repair and rescue of infrastructure and equipment systems of offices, buildings and apartments.
Insurance companies’ staff in charge of only performing activities related to assessment, making compensation records, and settling insurance benefits for customers are also allowed to resume work.
Air ticket offices and private health clinics are permitted to resume operating.
Delivery apps that take orders for essential goods are allowed to operate through districts, including Thủ Đức city. They have been asked to comply with preventive measures and not receive cash while delivering goods.
Delivery people for food processing establishments and food retailers will be allowed.
According to city authorities, all these groups must have an identification badge on their chest for easier inspection when travelling on streets. They must strictly comply with the Ministry of Health’s preventive measures.
The city has also extended the stay-at-home order from 6pm to 6am. Stores and business establishments have to stop operation after 6pm except for priority groups.
The priority groups include forces for vaccination, emergency aid, COVID-19 prevention and control; staff at supermarkets and food stores; reporters and newspaper delivery people; sanitation workers, workers who fix electricity and other infrastructure problems; drivers of essential transport vehicles; and workers at gas stations on city borders.
The city has provided one million social welfare packages to disadvantaged people during the social distancing period. — VNS