Medics, military withdraw from HCMC as Covid subsides

By Le Nga, Dinh Van, Ha An   October 7, 2021 | 01:00 am PT
Medics, military withdraw from HCMC as Covid subsides
Soldiers collect their belongings to return to their bases after spending over a month in HCMC for assisting coronavirus control, October 6, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van
As HCMC begins to put the coronavirus situation under control, medical and military forces are withdrawing from the southern metropolis, months after deployment.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son on Wednesday requested city authorities to plan for health worker reinforcements to withdraw from Ho Chi Minh City to ensure their good health and have them assist other localities.

Since July, around 20,000 health workers from all over the country have been dispatched to HCMC to aid in the coronavirus fight, he added.

Earlier this month, Son said reinforcements would withdraw gradually, depending on the coronavirus situation and the restructuring of field hospitals and ICUs across the city.

"The plan to withdraw reinforcements would occur gradually and not all at once, which could affect current anti-coronavirus efforts," he said.

Similarly, military forces dispatched to the city over the past month and a half would also gradually withdraw, starting with districts where the coronavirus is put under control.

The military's Division No. 9 from Corp No. 4 withdrew from Binh Tan District on Thursday to return to their base in Dong Nai’s Long Thanh District, according to Binh Tan People’s Committee.

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Dung, deputy chairwoman of Binh Tan, said 560 soldiers have aided 10 wards in the district to deliver food and other necessities to over 242,000 families and help take care of over 20,000 Covid-19 patients.

About 15 kilometers away, soldiers from Corp No. 5 are about to depart from Binh Thanh District’s Ward 1 too. Over the past month, around 780 soldiers have helped local authorities with monitoring checkpoints, delivering food and running medical stations.

On Tuesday, about 25 percent of soldiers in Go Vap District returned to their bases. Around 1,000 soldiers still remain in the district however to deliver over 1,300 tons of rice to residents, according to the district’s military headquarters. They too would eventually leave once their mission is complete.

In Thu Duc City, around 1,600 soldiers from numerous military units also expect to gradually withdraw, isolating themselves before returning to their bases.

"The withdrawal would happen gradually based on local capacity for coronavirus control," said Nguyen Thanh Phong, political officer of the Thu Duc City military headquarters, adding that around 20 soldiers had contracted Covid-19 during their missions, and all have recovered.

Nguyen Tuan Bao, deputy political commissar of HCMC High Command, said units under the Ministry of National Defense would withdraw first, while units under the 7th Military Region would withdraw by Oct. 15.

However, military medics are expected to remain until the end of November.

During the height of the fourth coronavirus wave, the military from late August had mobilized around 34,000 soldiers and 98,000 militia members, along with around 2,000 health workers to support HCMC’s coronavirus fight.

The southern metropolis, epicenter of the fourth wave, has recorded 403,454 local Covid-19 cases so far. Over 15,300 people in the city have died.

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