Foreign tourists receive free surgical masks in HCM City. — Photo voh.com.vn
HCM CITY — Around 100,000 surgical masks are being provided to tourists visiting HCM City between Sunday (February 2) and February 10, according to the city Department of Tourism.
It is being done by the department in co-ordination with travel firms to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and increase public awareness of the disease.
With the message “Tourists are protected when travelling in HCM City”, the activity would continue until the epidemic ends if it receives more funds, Nguyễn Hùng Dũng, deputy chairman of the UNESCO Hà Nội Club, said.
Each tourist will get a bag containing five to 10 masks at popular tourist attractions in the city such as the Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, Independence Palace, War Remnants Museum and Opera House.
Oleg Safonov, a visitor from the US, said he felt safe when travelling in HCM City though fears over the coronavirus outbreak have mounted.
The city received 840,100 foreign visitors in January, an increase of 5.9 per cent from the same period last year.
Hundreds of surgical masks are being handed over to the public in hospitals, pharmacies and on streets around the city.
Thủ Đức Hospital gave out more than 6,000 free masks to patients on February 2 and 3.
It has also arranged anti-viral hand foam at 250 spots around its premises.
Nguyễn Minh Quân, its director, said the hospital has ordered more masks and would continue to hand them out to patients and their relatives.
Đỗ Văn Dũng, head of the city Department of Health’s pharmaceutical division, said the 35 manufacturers in the city would be able to supply enough masks to meet local demand.
“There is no worry about any shortage of masks. The department will work with manufacturers to increase their capacity.”
Pharmacity Company, which has 205 drug stores around the city, has 130 million surgical masks in stock and has promised to keep prices unchanged at VNĐ35,000 (US$1.5) for a box of 48 masks, he said.
Dũng called on people to buy only two boxes per person to prevent any spike in demand amid the coronavirus outbreak. — VNS