COVID-19 prevention and control efforts at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport in HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo
HCM CITY — HCM City authorities plan to strengthen the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the next two weeks, which is considered the “golden time” to contain the outbreak.
They have asked all citizens to stay at home as much as possible.
Speaking at a meeting on Monday, Nguyễn Thiện Nhân, secretary of HCM City Party Committee, noted the rapid spread of the virus, with 9,500 new infections worldwide in January, mostly in China, and then rising to 76,000 in February and 840,000 in March.
Experiences from countries with COVID-19 have shown that 100 cases increased to 1,000 within 10 days and to 2,000 within three days, he said.
“The death toll has also increased dramatically,” he said.
HCM City targets containing the outbreak within the next two weeks, he said.
He said it would be hard to predict if the city can control the number of infections to fewer than 150 in the city in the next two weeks.
However, the city has done a good job in containing the outbreak so far. As of Mar 30, the number of infected people in the city totalled under 50.
He said Việt Nam has been trying to prevent the number of COVID-19 cases from rising up to 1,000.
The next two weeks will be decisive for the city and the country. The public, organisations and agencies must all join the prevention effort, he said.
According to Nhân, the city has spent about 25 per cent of the city’s total budget to support people who lost income due to the pandemic.
“We will also discuss ways to help the homeless in the city to fight against COVID-19,” Nhân said.
The city is learning from Bạch Mai Hospital in Hà Nội which has become an epicentre involving about 30,000 patients and people who visited the hospital in the past 14 days. They are now being traced for testing and quarantine.
After the incident at Bạch Mai Hospital where two medical workers tested positive for the virus, HCM City instructed hospitals to not allow people to travel freely from one department to another to avoid the spread of the disease.
The city has also directed the Department of Health to ensure time off for medical workers and provide training for non-infectious disease medical staff so they can work in infectious departments as needed.
Nhân demanded that city residents stay at home as much as possible.
Limiting travelling is one way to prevent the spread, he said.
“Experience from other countries shows that when an outbreak has worsened, travel must also be prohibited.”
Nhân said that “wearing a face mask in public places is required, and anyone who violates this will be strictly punished.”
Nhân also emphasised the importance of limiting close contact with others and washing hands thoroughly as often as possible. — VNS