A doctor of Bạch Mai Hospital's mobile force examines a patient infected with the nCoV virus in Bình Xuyên District Medical Station, VĨnh Phúc Province. VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI - Deputy health minister Đỗ Xuân Tuyên on Friday warned the number of the coronavirus infections in Vĩnh Phúc Province – the biggest cluster detected in Việt Nam so far – was likely to increase in the coming days.
Vĩnh Phúc, about 40km to the north of Hà Nội, on Thursday reported another two people infected, raising the total cases in the province to seven out of 13 nationwide.
According to the Ministry of Health, four patients in Vĩnh Phúc had travelled to Wuhan for a training course in November last year and returned to Việt Nam mid-January. One of them passed the virus to three family members.
Tuyên said those infected had moved around the area and made contacts with several people. Eighteen people who were identified as having close contact are being supervised closely and put under quarantine, he added.
“Vĩnh Phúc is currently the epicentre of the epidemic,” he said.
“All levels of authorities need to stay focussed and support Vĩnh Phúc to set up and maintain quarantine zones as we’re determined to not let the virus spread and result in fatalities.”
Việt Nam Red Cross vice president, Dr Trần Quốc Hùng on Friday said schools should be reopened under supervision of local authorities as the young children are less likely to be infected.
Citing medical research of Chinese scientists, he said the average age of patients in Wuhan was relatively old, with most of them were between 55 and 95 years old.
Only 10 per cent of those infected were 39 years and younger, while up to 50 per cent had pre-existing medical conditions, Hùng said.
In Việt Nam, the average age of those infected was 36, with the youngest at 16 and the oldest at 73, according to Hùng.
He also said that Việt Nam so far detected only a small number of infections in a few localities.
Given that the youngsters, especially those under 12, were unlikely to catch the virus, schools should open again particularly in localities that were yet to discover any infected cases, he said.
He added that those in the south should also consider letting the students back to class as soon as possible as the corona virus was found to be active in low temperatures and high humidity – the current weather conditions in the north – and much less active in hot and dry conditions like in the south, Hùng said.
While recommending reopening schools, Hùng also advised to clean and disinfect all classrooms and immediately close schools again if there were new infections in the locality. Classes should also be cancelled if temperatures drop to below 15 degrees Celsius instead of the current benchmark of 10 degrees Celsius.
Tuyên said local people’s committees should consult with health and education departments to decide whether to extend the school closures.
“All schools in three infected provinces, however, will remain closed in the meantime,” he said.
Sixty-three localities in Việt Nam universally closed all kindergartens, schools and universities for between two and seven days this week in response to the outbreak.
HCM City on Thursday decided to extend the school closure for another week while Hà Nội Department of Education and Training was seeking a similar move. — VNS
Japan offers testing reagents aids to Việt Nam
HÀ NỘI — Japan on Friday announced it would provide testing reagents worth of 14 million yen (US$127,500) to Việt Nam as emergency relief amid the outbreak.
The Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) said the assistance came in response to an urgent request from Việt Nam’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE).
NIHE is the running tests for infection of the Wuhan coronavirus nCoV for all suspected cases in Việt Nam.
The testing reagents will be used for rapid detection of the virus, according to JICA.
The reagents would be handed to NIHE in separate batches, of which the first one was delivered to the institute on Friday, JICA said. — VNS