Hoarding ventilators, oxygen tanks may cause shortages: health ministry

By Le Nga   July 19, 2021 | 02:04 am PT
Hoarding ventilators, oxygen tanks may cause shortages: health ministry
A Covid-19 patient is put on ventilators at a HCMC hospital specialized in treating Covid-19. Photo by VnExpress/Van Dao.
People should not hoard ventilators and oxygen tanks they cannot use and that may cause shortages, the Health Ministry warned.

"The Ministry of Health and HCMC assure patients there would be no ventilator and oxygen tank shortage," Nguyen Trong Khoa, deputy head of the Administration of Medical Examination and Treatment under the health ministry, said Sunday.

The ministry had found oxygen tank production units could supply 30 times the current demand at hospitals, said Khoa.

As rising numbers of coronavirus infections worry the population, some decided to purchase ventilators and oxygen tanks themselves as a precautionary measure. But Khoa said not all Covid-19 cases require ventilators and other breathing support, except those with respiratory failure and breathing difficulties.

Operating ventilators at home requires more stringent procedures than other equipment like thermometers, Khoa said, adding they should only be operated at well-equipped medical facilities. Those using ventilators also need to be monitored by qualified medical staff should any mishap occur, he added.

"Within a family setting, ventilators cannot be operated nor medical workers sent to do so," said Khoa, concluding that hoarding ventilators at home would not only be useless but also potentially cause shortages, preventing access to those who need them most.

Among all active coronavirus cases in Vietnam, around 80 percent are either asymptomatic or mild cases, and only around 6 percent require some forms of breathing support, said Khoa.

Vietnam has recorded 52,164 local Covid-19 cases since the fourth wave hit the country in late April. It is treating nearly 45,000 patients.

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