|South Korean passengers declare their state of health after arriving at Noi Bai International Airport in Ha Noi. — Photo hanoimoi.com.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — About 8,000 travellers from MERS-hit South Korea have visited Viet Nam since June 3, Ha Noi's Vice-Mayor Nguyen Van Suu was told at Noi Bai international airport yesterday.
The vice-mayor was inspecting measures being taken against an MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak, accompanied by a team of representatives from different concerned agencies.
An officer from the Ha Noi department of health's international health and quarantine centre told the vice-mayor that every day, about 10 flights from South Korea and the Middle East land in Viet Nam, with 2,000 passengers arriving at this airport on average.
All passengers are being made to declare their state of health in a declaration form, have their body temperature measured and are put under strict scrutiny.
Suu ordered the city's health sector to keep a watchful eye on passengers checking in, especially those coming from South Korea where the MERS outbreak was claiming casualties.
He instructed health workers to guide air passengers how to report and keep track of their health for two weeks after they check in.
In another development, the health ministry's department of preventive health said a seven-year-old South Korean boy, who had arrived at Cam Ranh airport with the symptoms of fever, had tested negative for MERS.
The boy, who travelled to Viet Nam for tourism with his parents and younger brother, had a body temperature of 38 degrees Celsius. The whole family was immediately isolated for examination and blood tests, but they all tested negative for the MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
HCM City gets ready
Nguyen Huu Hung, vice-director of the Ho Chi Minh City health department, said the city had assigned three hospitals to receive, isolate and treat patients suspected of having the MERS-CoV.
The hospitals are HCMC Tropical, Nhi Dong 1 and Nhi Dong 2.
These hospitals have reportedly prepared all equipment and medicines necessary in case of an MERS outbreak.
The city has also assigned a number of other hospitals downtown to provide training to some provincial hospitals in southern Viet Nam on isolating and treating patients suspected of carrying the MERS-CoV.
Tang Chi Thuong, deputy director of HCM City health department, said MERS spread through the respiratory route, and therefore, spread of the infection between health workers and patients and among health workers had to be prevented first.
For this reason, he said, hospitals in the city would be required to hold refresher training for their staff on combating bacterial infections, as they had done before during previous influenza epidemics.
Two more deaths
South Korea's health ministry today said two more people have died in its MERS outbreak and reported 13 new cases, taking the total to 108.
The two deaths, both cancer patients, bring the number of fatalities to nine.
All those who died had been suffering serious ailments before they tested positive for the MERS virus, the ministry said.
The 13 new cases were all linked to hospitals, it said.
South Korea's new cases bring the total number of MERS cases globally to 1,257, based on the World Health Organisation (WHO) data, with at least 448 related deaths. The country has the second highest number of cases after Saudi Arabia, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said. — VNS