Hanoi fortifies itself for a Covid-19 rush

By Thuy An   March 8, 2020 | 04:24 am PT
Hanoi fortifies itself for a Covid-19 rush
Soldiers of the Vietnamese Army's Chemical Division in protective gears prepare to spray chemical to disinfect the neighborhood on Truc Bach Street in Hanoi's Ba Dinh District, March 7, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
With four infections in short order, Hanoi is bracing itself for more Covid-19 cases by preparing hospital beds, testing centers and quarantine forces.

Municipal authorities have asked six hospitals in the capital city to spare 1,000 beds in total for quarantining and treating coronavirus patients.

The six hospitals – Bac Thang Long in Dong Anh District, Dong Da in Dong Da District, Thanh Nhan in Hai Ba Trung District, Duc Giang in Long Bien District, Saint Paul in Ba Dinh District and Ha Dong in Ha Dong District – are being equipped with enough medicine and medical devices and their staff trained to receive Covid-19 patients.

The quarantine facilities at the six hospitals will have to be available around the clock to accept patients and for taking samples from people suspected of carrying the novel coronavirus as and when needed.

The municipal health department has worked with the Hanoi Capital City Special High Command of the People's Army of Vietnam to complete a plan on building two field hospitals with 600 beds each to serve the quarantine process. The plan will be submitted soon to the city’s administration.

Hanoi has already set up five rapid-response teams in charge of localizing stricken areas, tracking down suspected cases and collecting samples for testing. If necessary, the city can deploy Covid-19 prevention forces in each district to support the five teams in efforts to keep an outbreak under control.

Nguyen Khac Hien, director of the Health Department, has asked all relevant units to focus on preventing and monitoring the community to detect any infection and limit its spread to the best of their abilities.

Hanoi recorded its first Covid-19 case - 26-year-old Nguyen Hong Nhung returning from Europe - Friday night.

On Saturday, it was confirmed that Nhung’s personal chauffeur and an aunt had been infected. Sunday morning, a 61-year-old man who was on flight VN0054 with Nhung also tested positive for the novel coronavirus. In all, Hanoi now has four infection cases.

Hoang Duc Hanh, deputy director of the health department, said Hanoi has been preparing itself for the eventuality of new Covid-19 infections, but now it has to be on high alert.

He urged each medical staff and Hanoi citizen to remain alert and calm, keep themselves updated on the ongoing epidemic via official sources, and follow all healthcare steps including maintaining a high level of personal hygiene as guided by the Ministry of Health.

Two more testing centers

The Health Ministry has given the green light for two more hospitals in Hanoi – the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Dong Anh District and the National Children's Hospital in Dong Da District – to carry out tests for the novel coronavirus.

Both these hospitals have already admitted and successfully treated Covid-19 patients.

The two hospitals join a list of 30 institutes across the nation that have been approved to conduct tests for the virus.

In Vietnam, it takes at least 5.5 hours to get the results of a Covid-19 test.

As of Sunday afternoon, Vietnam has confirmed 30 Covid-19 infections, with the latest nine being foreign tourists who were on the same flight from London to Hanoi as Nguyen Hong Nhung.

All the nine foreigners have been quarantined. 

Globally, a total of 106,211 Covid-19 infections have been recorded in 103 countries and territories. The death toll has climbed to 3,600, more than 3,000 of them in China, 233 in Italy and 145 in Iran.

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