Deputy PM Đam urges HCM City to use technology to fight virus

July 05, 2021 - 17:57

Since the pandemic hit Việt Nam in January last year, the country has confirmed 20,261 cases - 18,403 locally transmitted infections and 1,858 imported from overseas.

Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam addresses an online meeting with HCM City's leaders on Monday. VNA/VNS Photo  Nguyễn Điệp

HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam called on HCM City's leaders to employ the latest technology to improve testing and contact tracing in an online meeting on Monday.

Đam, also head of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19, said testing and tracing must be done with care and high accuracy. 

"We must avoid collecting too many samples and being unable to process them in a timely manner. Each test result must provide enough information so contact tracing can be done effectively," said the deputy PM.

He asked the city to tighten monitoring of people entering and exiting virus hotspots while taking steps to keep up the flow of goods. Bus and truck drivers soon will have to provide negative test results upon entry to the city while residents must complete health declaration forms online if they intend to travel. 

HCM City's leaders said residents will also require QR codes as proof of being COVID-19 negative to enter certain restricted places while the city is to keep other preventative measures in place to ensure safety for students during the upcoming high school examination.

HCM City improves tracing

HCM City’s COVID-19 investigation, tracing and sampling have improved in effectiveness in the last few days even as new daily incidence has hit triple digits, the city Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention said.

Unlike earlier staff at health centres in districts and health stations in wards, communes and towns are now only tracing contacts and taking samples for testing, and perform no other tasks.

This has helped ensure all possible infections are investigated within one hour after health officials get test results and six to 10 hours in the case of F1 [people who came in contact with patients] as against 12 hours previously.

Speaking at a meeting with the People’s Committee on Sunday Nguyễn Hoài Nam, deputy head of the city Department of Health, said his agency has instructed hospitals and health centres in districts and Thủ Đức City to take samples from F1 cases to testing establishments within two hours.

Samples taken in the community should be taken within 24 hours, he said.

Testing establishments have been instructed to provide results for community samples and F2, or those who were in contact with F1, within 24 hours. Earlier it used to take up to 48 hours.

The city shuts down areas within a maximum of one hour if a person tests positive there, and begins investigation, tracing and sampling.

Deputy chairman of the People’s Committee, Ngô Minh Châu, said the city would set up a testing administration centre to improve its testing regime. 

Testing teams are being set up across the city, which needs to do two million rapid tests.

The city will add 10-30 personnel to every district and Thủ Đức City to investigate and trace contacts.

Việt Nam’s national COVID-19 caseload topped 20,000 on Monday morning after the Ministry of Health announced 328 new cases. — VNS