Tell on people buying medicines for cold, Hanoi druggists told

By Vo Hai   April 13, 2020 | 06:58 am PT
Tell on people buying medicines for cold, Hanoi druggists told
People buy medicines at a drug store on Vu Trong Phung Street in Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi, March 7, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Hue.
Hanoi has asked 7,000 pharmacies to report people buying medicines for cold, cough and fever in recent days as authorities keep up efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Hanoi Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung asked the municipal Health Department Monday morning to inform the pharmacies of their responsibility to report on individuals purchasing medicines for cold and common cold symptoms of cough and fever. The buyers should be asked to submit health declarations immediately, he said.

Chung did not mention a specific time frame in which purchases made have to be reported.

"If any of these pharmacies miss any of the mentioned cases, they will be dealt with in accordance with the law. This is their duty to participate in the prevention and control of the epidemic. If any pharmacy does not comply, their license can be revoked," he said.

Hanoi authorities also order all private clinics and medical centers to take samples for Covid-19 testing from any visitor seeking treatment for ailments like fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Chung said small outbreaks in Hanoi have technically been put under control, with the Bach Mai Hospital, Vietnam’s largest Covid-19 hotspot, having its lockdown lifted last Sunday. However, there are complications at the Ha Loi Village in Me Linh District, which has emerged as Hanoi’s second largest hotspot with at least 12 cases associated with it so far.

"The city must focus on putting down the Ha Loi outbreak and identifying all who have come into contact with 'Patient 243', the first recorded case there," Chung said.

"Patient 243", 47, had taken his wife to the Bach Mai Hospital's department of immunology and allergy for a check-up on March 12. The couple left the hospital and went for a bite at a shop opposite the hospital on Giai Phong Street the same day.

Eighteen days later, he visited a communal medical facility to submit his health declaration and was told to self-quarantine at home. He’d had close contact with family members and business partners. While he remained asymptomatic, his samples were taken on April 4 by the Hanoi Center for Disease Control. Two days later, his test results were confirmed Covid-19 positive.

The Health Ministry Tuesday night announced a list of addresses that "Patient 243" had visited between March 8 and April 4, and called for everyone who’d gone to those places to report themselves for health monitoring as soon as possible.

Chung also said that positive cases in Me Linh District "show signs that they are related to many provinces and cities southward from the central province of Ha Tinh."

Medical officers have been asked to immediately impose 14-day home quarantine on anyone related to Me Linh District and Bach Mai Hospital.

Another village under the scanner

Doan Van Trong, Chairman of the Me Linh People's Committee, said there was a risk that the outbreak has spread from Ha Loi Village to other villages in the district.

Ha Loi resident "Patient 259", for instance, had gone to the Lieu Tri Village to deliver flowers and had come into contact with many people.

"Patient 259" is the 41-year-old wife of "Patient 254." A horticulturist, she cultivates flowers and delivers it occasionally to the district's Lieu Tri Village and some other places. She also goes shopping often at the house of "Patient 250," the last such instance happening on March 25.

The last time she came into contact with her husband was on April 8, before he went for dialysis to the Hanoi Nephrology Hospital.

After her husband was confirmed Covid-19 positive on April 9, she went into quarantine the next day and her samples were taken for testing at the Hanoi Center for Preventive Medicine.

Lieu Tri, home to 2,000 people, is just across the street from Ha Loi.

"The district has proposed that the residents of Lieu Tri are tested and has prepared a plan to isolate the village if positive cases are found," Trong said.

Chairman Chung also asked the Hanoi Center for Disease Control to locate the source of infection for "Patient 237," a Swedish citizen.

"Soon or later we have to find the source of infection of ‘Patient 237’. Even when the epidemic has passed, the Hanoi Center for Disease Control has to find the source of infection for research and prevention purposes,"  he noted.

"Patient 237", whose Covid-19 infection was confirmed on April 3, is a 64-year-old Swedish man with blood cancer who’d been in Vietnam since last December. He visited the northern province of Ninh Binh on March 17 and returned to Hanoi on March 22.

On March 31 he had a nose bleed and a family member took him to a hospital for a checkup. His samples, taken April 1, tested Covid-19 positive. He is currently being treated at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi's Dong Anh District.

Vietnam had recorded a total of 265 Covid-19 cases as of Monday evening. After 145 discharges, there are 120 active cases undergoing treatment.

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