HCMC proposes criteria changes for Covid fight evaluation

By Huu Cong   September 27, 2021 | 12:34 am PT
HCMC proposes criteria changes for Covid fight evaluation
Health workers give Covid-19 vaccine shots to people in HCMC's Thu Duc City, August 15, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen
HCMC has requested changes to certain metrics to evaluate its coronavirus fight, including not relying on new community transmission cases and adjustments to vaccination rate thresholds.

In a document from deputy chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Duong Anh Duc to the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control regarding managing and adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic, the city calls for changes to certain metrics and requirements to evaluate its adaptability to fight the coronavirus, such as the number of beds with ventilators or the number of vaccinated people across different age ranges.

According to a draft by the Ministry of Health, the criteria used to evaluate adaptability to the coronavirus include vaccination rate and availability of medical equipment and infrastructure.

Specifically, at least 80 percent of people aged above 50 must be fully vaccinated, all local medical facilities must have oxygen canisters, mobile medical stations and groups to care for coronavirus cases, and a multi-level Covid-19 treatment structure that ensures the number of ICU beds amounts to at least 2 percent of the highest anticipated number of infections.

HCMC requested to adjust the vaccination rate requirement to either at least 80 percent of people aged above 65, or at least 50 percent of people above 50, being fully vaccinated. The city also wants people who recovered from the coronavirus, having developed antibodies against the virus within six months since their recoveries, to be counted as fully vaccinated individuals.

The number of new community transmission cases might be a good metric for localities where Covid-19 has yet to take hold, but would not be as effective for areas where the virus has already infiltrated deep within the community, HCMC stated. Therefore, such a metric should be switched to the number of severe Covid-19 cases and deaths instead, it proposed.

The city also proposed not to put close contacts of coronavirus cases into centralized quarantine to reduce the chance of cross-infection and relieve financial burdens on both people and local authorities.

Other proposals include new and adjusted requirements regarding the minimum number of ICU beds with ventilators and oxygen canisters.

Previously, chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Phan Van Mai proposed to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to allow the city to apply its own policies to reopen its economy. He also requested the prime minister to prioritize vaccination for the city and the southern key economic region.

HCMC, epicenter of the fourth coronavirus wave, has recorded 371,660 local Covid-19 cases so far in the new wave, with over 14,200 deaths.

The city has vaccinated about 6.8 million people, or nearly 98 percent of its adult population, with at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose. Around 2.7 million people, or 38 percent, have been fully vaccinated.

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