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Fast-response teams set up for MERS

Update: June, 08/2015 - 08:58
Noi Bai International Airport in Ha Noi has tightened medical quarantine to detect infections and to prevent the spread of MERS to Viet Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc

HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Health (MoH) has issued an action plan to cope with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome caused by Corona virus (MERS-CoV) that has broken out in many countries.

Four fast-response teams have been established in the northern, southern, central, and Central Highlands regions.

According to Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long, the teams will constantly watch for suspected or real case of MERS-CoV infection at regions they are in charge of and make quick responses when a situation arises.

The northern group, which is led by Tran Dac Phu, Director of the Department of Preventative Medicine under the health ministry, is also responsible for reaching help to other regions when necessary.

Long urged all the team leaders to work closely with local Steering Committees for preventing a MERS-CoV outbreak and coordinating preventative measures, as well as handling relevant issues.

An online training conference on preventing the disease is scheduled to take place with the participation of public and private hospitals as well as medical centres nationwide.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has asked the local departments of culture, sports and tourism, Viet Nam Tourism Association, and local tourism associations to see if international travel companies and hotels have proper action plans to prevent the disease from breaking out through tourists, ensure the safety of travellers, and curb the outbreak of the disease in Viet Nam.

The ministry has recommended that international business travel organis-ations should not take tourists to infected countries and actively control the entry of passengers coming from infected regions to Viet Nam.

International tour operators should constantly update themselves as well as travellers on the disease and take preventive measures recommended by the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health.

Several drastic measures have been taken in many provinces across Viet Nam.

The Ha Noi Health Department has held training courses for health-care workers on coping with the disease and also strengthened the inspection of preventative measures in the city's hospitals.

The department has intensified the measures to detect any case of MERS at Noi Bai International Airport.

Hospitals have been asked to arrange isolation wards in their complexes and prepare enough drugs and equipment to receive and treat people infected with MERS-CoV.

The central city of Da Nang is also intensifying medical monitoring at its international airport, seaports, and border gates in a bid to prevent the virus from entering Viet Nam.

At an emergency meeting on Thursday, Deputy Director of the municipal Health Department, Ngo Thi Kim Yen, stressed the importance of screening foreign passengers arriving at Da Nang International Airport, especially those from China and South Korea, which have recorded many MERS-CoV cases.

She noted that many foreigners will be visiting Da Nang during the impending tourist season.

According to statistics from the Da Nang International Health Quarantine Centre, each week, Da Nang Airport receives 22 flights carrying some 4,500 passengers from South Korea and 63 flights with 12,000-13,000 people from China.

From June 3, all passengers coming from the two countries fill out health declaration forms at the airport and Tien Sa Port.

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long last week inspected preventive measures and preparations at Cho Ray and tropical disease hospitals in HCM City.

Health-care facilities have been asked to enhance the examination of patients with respiratory complains and those who had previously been to infected areas. They are also required to advise people to reconsider their visits to infected nations.

Southern province of Can Tho has also strengthened the measures to prevent the outbreak of the disease.

The city's Health Department has asked health-care centres at local hospitals to strengthen all its resources to control the epidemic from entering the country.

The northern coastal city of Hai Phong has asked medical units to take preventive measures in the city's port areas.

The city's International Health Quarantines Centre has organised round-the-clock examinations to check administrative procedures and to record the body temperature readings of crew members entering Viet Nam via Hai Phong Port.

On Sunday, South Korea's health ministry reported 14 more MERS cases, raising the total number of infected cases to 64. Five have died in the country so far. It also said one patient has recovered, becoming the first MERS patient to be discharged from hospital.

With South Korea's new cases, the total number of cases worldwide stands at 1,194, based on WHO data, and at least 443 related deaths. — VNS

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