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Hanoi Covid patients fend for themselves at home

By Le Anh   February 22, 2022 | 05:15 am PT
Unable to get a hold of local authorities for immediate Covid-19 support, many patients in Hanoi have had to rely on friends, family or even themselves for self-treatment.

Hoang, who lives in Thanh Xuan District, said he has had Covid-19 since Feb. 14 with symptoms like coughing and a runny nose. He tried to report his condition to local medical authorities, but his friends said it was unnecessary as his symptoms were mild and there were too many Covid-19 patients for local medical personnel to handle immediately anyway.

He also did not have a Covid-19 certificate to prove he'd recovered as his company didn't require it.

"I treated myself," said Hoang, 30, because he's healthy, doesn't have underlying conditions and can buy drugs online.

Drugs, food and health supplements that Hoang uses to self-treat Covid-19 at home in Hanoi. Photo obtained by VnExpress

Drugs, food and health supplements that Hoang uses to self-treat Covid-19 at home in Hanoi. Photo obtained by VnExpress

The 34-year-old Hien, who lives in Hoang Mai District, was 25 weeks pregnant when she found out she had Covid on Feb. 18. She tried to call the local medical hotline, but the line was either busy or non-responsive. So, she contacted every doctor she could think of to ask for advice, and finally found one to provide both diagnosis and prescription. Her health is now stable.

Nam, who lives in Cau Giay District, called his friend to request drugs, food and test kits after he tested positive for the coronavirus.

"I was hesitant to call the local hotline of the ward as it was always busy and barricading the building for quarantine would affect my neighbors," said Nam, 28. Every day he consumed vitamins and ate fruits to bolster his immune system but didn't dare to use Covid-19 drugs in fear of side effects. After four days of self-treatment, his positive test indicator seemed to have blurred a bit.

Truong Ky Phong, director of the Ha Dong District medical center, said most self-treated Covid-19 cases at home are young and healthy people, who are fully vaccinated and have either mild symptoms or none.

They can equip themselves with medical devices, drugs and food for self-sustenance at home. Most of the population is now also well-equipped with information on how to fight the coronavirus, so they are much less prone to paranoia, he added.

Phong admitted that local medical facilities are being overloaded, with each ward reporting over 100 new cases a day, so answering the phone is already a stretch.

"The pressure is 100 times greater than the previous period, where only a few dozen cases were recorded a day," he said.

Despite all the difficulties that may arise, Covid-19 cases should still report to medical authorities so they could be monitored and provided Covid-19 drugs. If their symptoms turn severe, they would be transported to relevant medical facilities, he added.

Nguyen Dinh Hoa, a lawyer, said those who fail to report their Covid-19 status in time could be fined up to VND20 million ($877).

A doctor (L) picks up a Covid-19 patient at an apartment building in Hanoi, December 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

A doctor (L) picks up a Covid-19 patient at an apartment building in Hanoi, December 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Nguyen Minh Nguyen, a doctor at the Covid-19 Patient Treatment Hospital under the Hanoi Medical University Hospital, said reporting to local medical authorities is a vital step for first aid and advice to respond to severe symptoms. If a patient's condition turns severe, local medical personnel would be the first to be informed so patients could be hospitalized, he added.

Nguyen Duc Tuan, director of the Dong Da District medical center, said there are numerous sources for Covid-19 cases to seek help from home, including hotlines and medical teams.

Hanoi is currently managing Covid-19 cases at home digitally. Covid-19 cases are monitored by local medical authorities and provided drugs for treatment.

The capital has recorded over 200,000 Covid-19 cases in the fourth coronavirus wave, with over 196,000 being treated at home. Around 97 percent of cases have either mild or no symptoms, while nearly everyone has received at least two Covid-19 vaccine shots.

 
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