HCMC mulls field hospital near airport

By Manh Tung   February 29, 2020 | 08:09 pm PT
HCMC mulls field hospital near airport
Medical staff help each other wear protective clothes at a field hospital in Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City, February 10, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
HCMC plans to build a field hospital near Tan Son Nhat International Airport to check 7,000 Vietnamese returning from South Korea for coronavirus infection.

City chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong revealed the plan at a meeting on Saturday.

The returning people, mostly from southern Vietnam, are among 22,000 Vietnamese working in South Korea, where the number of confirmed cases is second only to China.

The South Korean government has declared a red alert, its highest level of alarm, after over 3,500 people were diagnosed with Covid-19 as of Sunday and 17 have died.

A Vietnamese living in South Korea’s Daegu, the main affected area, is infected with the novel coronavirus.

HCMC also plans to use the campus of the Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh City in Thu Duc District as a field hospital with a capacity to quarantine 40,000 people if the academic break continues.

The city received over 6,800 people from South Korea between February 23 and 29. As of Saturday almost 300 people were quarantined at a field hospital in the outlying Cu Chi District and other facilities with another 52 isolated at home.

The largest city in the country is also setting up medical teams.

It has almost 19,000 medical personnel but only around 1,300 specialize in infectious diseases and can attend to 1,000 patients at a time.

It will provide short-term training to medical staff working in other specialties in handling coronavirus patients.

HCMC is preparing to reopen schools for 73,000 12th graders on March 9 and nearly two million younger students a week later. Everyone will first get a health check and face masks.

Vietnam has reported 16 infection cases of the novel coronavirus, including three in HCMC. All have recovered and left hospitals. The country has reported no infection case since February 13.

The global death toll on Sunday climbed to 2,870, mostly in China, followed by 43 in Iran, 29 in Italy and 17 in South Korea. The U.S., Australia and Vietnam's neighbor Thailand have reported their first deaths.

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