HCMC to retest all foreign expert arrivals for Covid-19

By Le Phuong   February 20, 2021 | 11:31 pm PT
HCMC to retest all foreign expert arrivals for Covid-19
A worker from Gia Lai has her sample taken by a medic in HCMC on February 19, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
The HCMC People's Committee Saturday asked relevant agencies to re-test all foreign experts who entered the city without mentioning a cutoff arrival date.

The committee assigned the health sector to coordinate with the Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to organize the re-testing of "foreign experts who entered to work in the city."

Doctor Nguyen Tri Dung, director of the HCMC Center for Disease Control (HCDC), said that in recent days, the health sector has been monitoring Japanese experts entering HCMC from January 2021 until now. Nearly 700 Japanese experts have arrived in the city since January 1, of which more than 200 experts are working in the city.

"Since February 18, the HCDC has sent information about experts to the districts for verification, evaluation and sample taking as a Covid-19 prevention measure," Dung said.

The re-testing has been initiated after the death of "Patient 2229", a 54-year-old Japanese expert working for Mitsui Vietnam Co. Ltd.

He arrived Jan. 17 at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport and was quarantined in Ward 2, Tan Binh District from Jan. 17 to 31, during which he tested negative twice for the novel coronavirus.

He later took a flight to Hanoi and underwent self-quarantine at Somerset West Point since 2 p.m., Feb. 1. From February 1 to 13, he went to work at the company’s branch in Hanoi and returned to the serviced apartment building every day.

Around 7 p.m. on Feb. 13, he was found dead in his Somerset West Point room. He tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but the cause of his death has yet to be confirmed.

Under current regulations, foreigners entering HCMC are quarantined for 14 days and tested at least twice during the period.

The HCMC People's Committee has said that despite the city's Covid-19 outbreak basically brought under control, the risk of infection and spread of the virus in the city exists, especially when people from other localities return here to work after Tet (Lunar New Year holiday).

Thu Duc city and all districts have been asked to inspect those who have returned to the city from other localities in the past 14 days and collect medical declarations. Industrial parks and enterprises must take pandemic prevention measures to guarantee safety at work.

In the country's latest outbreak which began on Jan. 28 after a 55-day clean streak, HCMC has recorded 36 Covid-19 cases, of which 35 are related to the Tan Son Nhat airport and one is associated with the coronavirus hotspot Hai Duong Province.

The city has not recorded any community transmission for nine days.

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