Hanoi mulls closing administrative offices in Covid-19 fight

By Vo Hai   March 29, 2020 | 11:53 pm PT
Hanoi mulls closing administrative offices in Covid-19 fight
A woman wears a face mask near Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Hai.
The Hanoi chairman has suggested that certain administrative offices be closed and staff of certain sectors banned from leaving the capital city.

This is the latest measure among several made as the city fights to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"Hanoi requests that the prime minister lets some administrative entities in both Hanoi and other localities be off work," Hanoi Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung said in an online meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic in the country on Sunday.

This measure, along with several others, hold out the possibility of stopping the spread of the virus in the next 7-10 days, he said. When there is no chance for infection in crowded places, the outbreak could be contained locally and would be easier to extinguish, he said.

The capital also requested the Health Ministry to facilitate purchase of medical equipment for the Covid-19 fight, including ventilators and test kits. The city currently has around 260 ventilators, but they are being used for many kinds of patients, including those afflicted with diseases other than Covid-19. Due to limited supply, the city could only purchase around 100 more, Chung said.

Hanoi has already suspended operation of non-essential businesses and services until April 15 per a directive by PM Phuc to stem the spread of Covid-19. Workers in the capital city, however, started to return to their hometowns elsewhere. Therefore Chung also requested Phuc to order people who work in restaurants, hotels and some other businesses in Hanoi to stay where they are to prevent the possibility of further spread of the virus and the disease it causes.

Hanoi, with 77 Covid-19 infections, is the locality with the highest number of cases among Vietnam's 194.

Of the 194, 55 have been discharged from hospitals so far, including the largest single-batch release of 27 from a Hanoi hospital Monday morning.

Many of the currently active cases are Vietnamese nationals returning from Europe and the U.S. and foreigners coming from the same regions.

The Covid-19 pandemic has killed more than 33,900 people as it spread to 199 countries and territories.

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