HCMC to deploy rapid antigen tests for community Covid screening

By Thu Anh, Le Nga   May 27, 2021 | 10:39 pm PT
HCMC to deploy rapid antigen tests for community Covid screening
People line up to be tested for Covid-19 in HCMC, May 26, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
Ho Chi Minh City would deploy rapid Covid-19 antigen tests to regularly screen vulnerable population segments, the municipal Department of Health stated.

The rapid tests, which would detect coronavirus antigens within 15 minutes, will be deployed at medical facilities across the city, according to the department.

Rapid tests are only up to 75 percent accurate, so they should only be used to screen those vulnerable to Covid-19 infection, and not for confirmation, the Ministry of Health cautioned.

In HCMC, where a major coronavirus cluster related to a religious mission in the city was detected Wednesday, rapid antigen tests are advised as a regular screening method for medical workers, healthcare providers and resident patients, among others.

Should a rapid antigen test return positive, the case needs to be reported to local medical centers to launch Covid-19 prevention protocols and perform RT-PCR screening for confirmation.

Bac Giang, a major coronavirus hotspot that has recorded the highest number of Covid-19 infections in Vietnam's latest coronavirus wave, at 1,701, also deployed rapid antigen tests in certain locations vulnerable to Covid-19 infection starting Wednesday. The province has also let citizens living in centralized quarantine zones take rapid Covid-19 tests themselves as a trial from Thursday.

Le Thi Quynh Mai, a doctor at Vietnam-Sweden Hospital whose personnel instruct citizens to take rapid tests themselves, said the act could help relieve the burden on medical workers and help them focus on other tasks.

"If the trial goes well, such a model needs to be replicated in other localities, with an aim to let citizens take their own rapid tests, not just in centralized quarantine zones but other areas too," she added.

Vietnam entered its fourth wave of Covid-19 community transmission on April 27 and have since registered 3,335 infections in 31 cities and provinces.

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