Vietnam speeds up Covid-19 testing by designating 19 new facilities

By Le Nga   March 22, 2020 | 08:47 pm PT
Vietnam speeds up Covid-19 testing by designating 19 new facilities
Medical staff wait to take swab samples from people arriving at Noi Bai airport, Hanoi, March 18, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
The Health Ministry has allowed 19 medical facilities to test for Covid-19 in addition to the three approved by the World Health Organization.

Since the outbreak began in Vietnam in late January, only the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi, the Pasteur Institute in Saigon and the Pasteur Institute in Nha Trang, the three facilities approved by WHO, have been allowed to confirm positive samples.   

Others only carried out tests for preliminary confirmation, transferring positive samples to one of the three centers for a final test and announcement of the result.

Since Saturday the 19 facilities across the country that have been newly designated have also been allowed to do the final tests and announce their diagnoses.

They are the Centers for Disease Control in Hanoi, Yen Bai, Lao Cai, Quang Ninh, Can Tho, and Da Nang; the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases, Bach Mai Hospital, the Military Institute of Preventive Medicine, the Central Children's Hospitala nd the Military Hospital 108 in Hanoi; the Vietnam Russia Tropical Center, the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, Cho Ray Hospital, and the Children's Hospital No.1 in HCMC; the Hue Central Hospital; the Central Highlands’ Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology; Thai Nguyen Central Hospital and Phu Tho’s General Hospital in northern Vietnam. 

Promptly, just a day later on Sunday, the ministry confirmed 19 new infection cases, the highest number in a day since the start of the epidemic in Vietnam.

As of Monday Vietnam had 99 confirmed Covid-19 cases under treatment. 17 patients had been treated and discharged from hospital. Of the current cases, 10 have tested negative at least once and should be discharged soon.

Many of the current patients are foreigners or Vietnamese returning from Europe and the U.S.

Starting Sunday Vietnam suspended entry for all foreign nationals, including those of Vietnamese origin and family members with visa waivers.

The Covid-19 pandemic has so far infected more than 330,000 people globally, claiming more than 14,600 lives.

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