Covid-19 outbreak risk level drops further in HCMC

By Huu Cong   October 19, 2021 | 06:00 am PT
Covid-19 outbreak risk level drops further in HCMC
A babershop in HCMC reopens after more than four months of suspension, October 3, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Nhu Quynh
Under the Health Ministry's new criteria, HCMC is now a yellow zone, which means a medium risk locality, municipal health officials said.

As per the ministry’s latest guidelines, each locality will evaluate their Covid-19 risk levels following three criteria: infection rate, vaccine coverage, and treatment capacity.

Localities will assess their infection rate based on the average number of new cases per 100,000 people every two weeks (by combining the number of cases recorded in two consecutive weeks, halving the result, dividing it by the total population of the city and multiplying by 100,000).

From Oct. 12 to 18, HCMC recorded 7,039 infections, down from 11,652 the previous week, which means 104.5 cases per 100,000 population, meaning the Covid-19 situation in the city was at the medium-risk or yellow level, Tang Chi Thuong, director of the municipal Health Department, said at a meeting Tuesday.

The city has also vaccinated almost 99 percent of residents aged 18 and older with the first shot.

The city also meets the criteria for ‘medium-risk level’ in terms of medical capacity, as it can provide enough intensive care units for critical Covi-19 patients apart from facilities for categorizing patients and treating severe cases, as also mobile medical forces to take care of those quarantined at home.

As of Tuesday, the Covid-19 situation was at the medium-risk level, down from the high-risk level as evaluated last week, when the Health Ministry was calculating the number of new cases per 100,000 a week.

Although the situation has improved, it could prove temporary, Thuong cautioned.

"If we put our guard down and fail to prevent pandemic risks properly, the risk level will bounce back because the Delta variant is very complicated," he said.

He noted that in Singapore, the level of risk increased just one week after they announced that the outbreak was basically under control.

HCMC has been the epicenter of Vietnam's latest Covid-19 wave that started in late April.

It had undergone various levels of social distancing for around four months before relaxing restrictions on Oct. 1.

The city has recorded almost 420,000 cases, or nearly half the national tally, in the latest wave. Of these, 16,155 have lost their lives, according to the Health Ministry.

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