Scrap quarantine zones, field hospitals in high vaccination areas: academic

By Viet Tuan   October 19, 2021 | 04:05 am PT
Scrap quarantine zones, field hospitals in high vaccination areas: academic
People get vaccinated against Covid-19 in HCMC's District 11, August 2, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Localities with high Covid-19 vaccination rates should scrap centralized quarantine zones and field hospitals, and allow patients to be treated at home, a senior academic has proposed.

Nguyen Lan Hieu, director of the Hanoi Medical University, has made seven proposals to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on fighting the coronavirus amid the "new normal."

First, quarantine zones and field hospitals should be scrapped and replaced with Covid-19 care networks that allow patients to be treated at home.

Areas with Covid-19 cases may undertake small-scale quarantine measures, and only a dramatic rise in the number of new cases (over 10 percent of tested samples returning positive) should warrant village-wide or company-wide quarantine.

Only severe Covid-19 cases, including patients with underlying conditions and those who are unvaccinated, need to be taken to hospital for treatment.

"Such a strategy can be applied in all localities with high vaccination rates like Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong and Hanoi," Hieu said.

Second, hospitals should organize two separate lanes for those with and without Covid-19. Quick tests could be used to screen people, and health workers, patients and family members should be tested randomly and regularly for quick detection of cases.

Third, Covid-19 treatment zones should be divided into three areas: one for intensive care, one for non-intensive care treatment and one for post-treatment convalescence. Oxygen canisters, medicines and other equipment should be readily available to handle any situation.

"This is something that needs to be done for the long-term, not temporary establishments like field hospitals," Hieu said.

Fourth, the private sector should be enlisted in the Covid fight, with private hospitals allowed to collect fees for Covid-19 care. New departments related to Covid-19 care should be developed so the private sector can create signature services.

Fifth, localities must be ready to vaccinate children aged 12-18 as instructed.

Sixth, all localities should organize living spaces for workers and migrants.

"People who work within the same spaces should live together. When coronavirus cases are detected, authorities should support neighborhoods to let infected people live in isolation. Workers should be encouraged to do quick Covid-19 tests," Hieu said.

Seventh, the country needs to promote resilience in co-existing with Covid-19. Reducing the death rates should be the foremost goal.

Hieu said that the biggest lesson to learn from the pandemic was the need for enhancing medical capabilities across the board, and not have them centralized in certain major hospitals.

Covid-19 cases also need to be categorized into different groups based on their severity levels, with mild cases being treated at home and severe ones hospitalized.

Changing contact tracing and quarantining methods is key to adapt to the pandemic. Minimizing isolation will be the ideal strategy, Hieu said.

So far, Vietnam has vaccinated around 46.5 million people with at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot. Around 18.5 million people have been fully vaccinated.

go to top