Residents in Cầu Giấy District, Hà Nội who visited Đà Nẵng between July 15 and 29, wait for their turns for COVID-19 testing on Tuesday. The city will continue to give the tests to more than 50,000 returnees from Đà Nẵng. — VNA/VNS Photo Thành Đạt
HÀ NỘI — Acting Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long has warned the country looks set to face new COVID-19 hotspots in the community in the coming days and urged localities to stay vigilant to quickly detect new infections.
Speaking at a meeting of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control yesterday, Long cited northern Hải Dương City as a hotspot of community transmission with 11 cases confirmed so far, all linked to a restaurant on Ngô Quyền Street.
“The infection source started from the restaurant in late July. The coronavirus strain detected in Hải Dương is similar to the SARS-CoV-2 in central Đà Nẵng City. There will be more new locally-transmitted cases in Hải Dương in the coming days,” he said.
About 800 people linked to Hải Dương were identified as having direct contact with positive cases and as many as 2,000 people in the city have been tested tests. The city will also test people who had direct contact with positive cases.
Long asked the city to test people in high-risk areas as well as medical workers, patients at hospitals and clinics, focusing on tracing, zoning off and taking samples as quickly as possible.
With 11 cases linked to Đà Nẵng, Hà Nội has given PCR tests to more than 28,000 returnees from the central city and will continue to conduct the tests on a wider scale.
Long said the hotspots in Đà Nẵng City and Quảng Nam Province were expected to be contained in late August. The daily number of new cases detected in those areas had reduced from 20 cases between August 3 and 8 to 10 cases from August 10 to 17.
Experts had issued high-level warnings for community transmission but in many places, people hadn't strictly followed pandemic prevention regulations, he said, urging drastic measures to slow the transmission rate and limit infection sources.
As Việt Nam was facing COVID-19 community transmission risks, medical experts at the meeting proposed increasing the pandemic alert level, especially in urban areas and densely-populated places.
The ministry also urged people to download the Bluezone app to quickly and accurately detect people likely to be COVID-19 patients and declare their health status on the NCOVI app.
The Ministry of Health announced at the meeting the authority had ordered vaccines created by Russia, which would have to follow Vietnamese vaccine testing procedures for use in the country.
“The imported vaccine, before being used in Việt Nam, does not need testing on animals but needs clinical trials on humans to ensure its safety. This process will take six months to several years before the vaccine is widely applied,” said Associate Professor Trần Đắc Phu, a senior advisor of the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre.
Medical experts highlighted that before vaccines or effective treatment, people must stay vigilant and safely cohabit with the pandemic.
According to Long, since July 25, Việt Nam conducted more than 342,000 Realtime RT-PCR tests. Testing capacity at health care facilities has increased by 10 to 40 per cent.
The health ministry ordered central-level hospitals to set up laboratories with high testing capacity to assist localities.
The Steering Committee and the health ministry agreed not to permit paid COVID-19 testing services. Health care facilities which violate the regulation will be penalised. — VNS