Coronavirus: Hanoi mulls scenario to quarantine city streets

By Vo Hai   February 27, 2020 | 05:33 am PT
Coronavirus: Hanoi mulls scenario to quarantine city streets
People returning to Vietnam from countries and territories stricken by the Covid-19 are quarantined in a zone managed by the Hanoi Military High Command in Son Tay Town. Photo by VnExpress/Dung Nguyen.
Hanoi must prepare for several scenarios in fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak, including locking down some city streets, says its Party Secretary Vuong Dinh Hue.

The capital, as a popular tourist destination and where multiple branches and headquarters of international agencies are located, needs to be thorough in its preparations to stave off the Covid-19 advance, said Hue.

He was speaking Thursday during a visit to the Duc Giang General Hospital, one of five Hanoi hospitals designated to receive, quarantine and treat Covid-19 patients. The other four hospitals are the Ha Dong General Hospital, Dong Da General Hospital, Bac Thang Long General Hospital and Thanh Nhan Hospital.

Duc Giang General Hospital director Nguyen Van Thuong said they have prepared a quarantine zone with about 70 beds.

Among Hanoi’s 10 million-strong population is a large South Korean community, especially in districts like Thanh Xuan and Cau Giay, Hue noted.

"If something happens, where can we quarantine the people? What Vinh Phuc Province did was to quarantine an entire commune (Son Loi), which is good. While quarantining a rural area is easy, how can we do it in an urban area, where houses and streets are closely intertwined with one another?" Hue said, adding that authorities must consider ways to quarantine entire streets if necessary.

South Korea has made international headlines over the last few days as the worst-hit country after China, with 1,766 coronavirus infections in total, many in the southeastern city of Daegu and nearby North Gyeongsang Province.

Vuong Dinh Hue, Hanoi’s Party Secretary, at Hanois Department of Health on February 27, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Hai.

Vuong Dinh Hue, Hanoi’s Party Secretary, at Hanoi's Healh Department on February 27, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Hai.

As of Wednesday, around 650 people coming from outbreak areas were quarantined in zones managed by the Hanoi Military High Command, said director Nguyen Khac Hien of the municipal Health Department. These zones are expected to receive about 800 more within Thursday, he added.

The Hanoi Military High Command has made plans to build more field hospitals should the virus continue to spread. These would be situated in Me Linh District’s Son Tay and Xuan Mai towns, with a total capacity of around 2,000 beds.

Vietnam has suspended entry from all coronavirus-hit countries and territories since Tuesday, to include cities in South Korea, Japan, Italy, and Iran.

The country’s last Covid-19 patient of the 16 confirmed infections so far was discharged Wednesday. Vietnam has recorded no new infections over the past two weeks.

Previously, Hanoi Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung said the city currently accommodates 21,000 South Koreans, more than 8,400 Japanese and over 2,700 Chinese.

The global death toll from the Covid-19 epidemic has reached 2,808, mostly in China, followed by Iran at 22, South Korea at 13 and Italy at 12.

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