|COVID-19 face shields sold in Đồng Tháp Province. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The southern province of Đồng Tháp will enforce strict social distancing measures in accordance with the prime minister’s Directive 16 from midnight on July 14 as COVID-19 cases increase in the province.
The directive orders closures of non-essential services and businesses, people are told to stay at home unless necessary, gathering of two or more people in outside public is forbidden, and public transport is halted.
Phạm Thiện Nghĩa, chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, issued the decision as the total number of COVID-19 infections reached 620, most transmitted in the community.
Seven districts and cities in the province, Cao Lãnh City, Hồng Ngự City, Hồng Ngự District, Tam Nông District, Thanh Bình District, Tân Hồng District and Tháp Mười District, will practise 15 days of strict social distancing.
Since July 11, these localities had been practising Directive 15, which is less strict. Five districts and cities namely Sa Đéc, Châu Thành, Lai Vung, Lấp Vò and Cao Lãnh districts have implemented Directive 16.
Also on July 11, the province recorded 38 new cases, all of which were workers of Phát Tiến Seafood Company Limited (Cao Lãnh District). This company has about 700 employees.
During the fourth wave of the pandemic, Đồng Tháp Province detected the first case on May 31. After nearly a month, the province recorded a new case in Sa Đéc General Hospital, from which the number of infections began to increase.
In addition to this outbreak, the province has more than 13 infection chains in many areas, most of which are infections from unknown sources.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Trường Sơn on a working visit to the province on July 11 said the area is still weak in terms of treatment capacity, and the Ministry of Health will soon mobilise medical forces from Cần Thơ Central General Hospital and Huế Central General Hospital to provide support for the province.
A representative of Đồng Tháp’s Department of Health said the province currently has four RT-PCR testing machines with a capacity to collect 2,000 samples, 10,000 pooled samples a day. The province has 39 quarantine facilities with nearly 5000 beds.
Regarding the treatment capacity, the province has between 30 and 50 doctors and nurses involved in the treatment of COVID-19. Units that can be used as treatment areas for COVID-19 patients, include four provincial hospitals, one pulmonology hospital (with 20-40 beds for COVID-19 treatment), eight health centres at the district level (from 10 to 20 beds), two hospitals that can receive COVID-19 patients with moderate and severe symptoms as well as two concentrated quarantine facilities that have been turned into field hospitals to receive asymptomatic COVID-19 patients or people with mild symptoms.
The current difficulty the province is facing is due to the increasing number of cases and the limited number of medical staff have to take on many tasks. Hospitals that are capable of treating COVID-19 patients are under lockdown (Sa Đéc Hospital, Military Civil Medicine Hospital) and units treating patients lack the staff to respond to emergency resuscitation if they have to work under high pressure. — VNS