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HCMC conducts tracing, zoning, disinfection of Tan Son Nhat Airport

Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen, on February 6, had an urgent meeting with the Department of Health of Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong Province on matters related to Patient 1,979, a Tan Son Nhat Airport staff member.

HCMC conducts tracing, zoning, disinfection of Tan Son Nhat Airport

The entrance to the Apartment Building Ehome 4 is blocked for epidemiological investigation and tracing. (Photo: SGGP)

Dr. Nguyen Tri Dung, Director of the HCMC Center for Disease Control (HCDC), said that Patient 1,979 is an airport staff, residing in Block C2 in Apartment Building Ehome 4, in Thuan An City in Binh Duong Province. Currently, the patient is being isolated and treated at Cu Chi field hospital.

HCDC informed that this patient moved to Binh Duong in December 2020. No other epidemiological factors have been detected. After that, he showed signs of fatigue from February 2 and did not go to work. On February 3, he went to the Military Hospital 175 and was sent to the screening clinic. On February 5, he went to Tan Son Nhat Airport for testing and had a positive result for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

After receiving information, HCDC took samples of people living with him, conducted the epidemiological investigation, and traced people who had close contact with him, as well as carried out environmental treatment at his workplace and residence.

‘On a preliminary assessment, this case was discovered through Covid-19 screening at the airport. This employee works at a position with no contact with passengers and has also been absent from work in recent days. Therefore, it minimizes the risk of infection at the airport. Currently, the city is striving to track cases with close contact with Patient 1,979 to cut the chain of infection. As for the airport, HCDC has taken samples of most of all airport employees. This is the only case positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus,’ said Dr. Nguyen Tri Dung.

The representative of the Southern Airport Authority (SAA) said that this unit had cooperated and played its role of coordinating international flights following the process, channeling, and strictly controlling private entrances. The International Health Quarantine Center of HCMC had collaborated to coordinate this. The SAA's leaders had a meeting on the same night to trace, zone, and order disinfection of the whole airport. The Military Hospital 175 also isolated 21 people who had close contact (F1) with Patient 1,979, continued to track and screen F2 cases, and disinfected all the places that he visited in the hospital.

Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen ordered HCMC and Binh Duong Province to promptly track and carry out testing to detect suspected cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection quickly. They must find all F1 and F2 of Patient 1,979 and his brother, Patient 1,980. All F1 cases must be isolated at medical centers, closely monitored, and tested. F2 can self-isolate at home, and they must sign commitments following the form of the Ministry of Health. Cases that violate self-isolation commitments will be sent to concentrated quarantine camps. Besides, F1 and F2 cases must not share the same room in the isolation camps. As for households that do not have private rooms for their family members, they also have to go to concentrated quarantine camps. Single sample test should be used for F1 cases. For F2, the health sector can pool from 5 to 15 samples, including family members, for testing.

To quickly trace and zone Covid-19-hit areas, Mr. Do Xuan Tuyen ordered authorities to work with the patients and ask them to report fully and honestly their travel history. At the same time, they need to access cameras to find places where the patients made contacts. Besides, the propaganda ordering people who had contacted these patients to make medical declarations and appealing the people to delate any case that does not make medical declarations should be implemented strongly.

Currently, around 1,000 people at Tan Son Nhat Airport have not been taken samples for Covid-19 testing. Therefore, they must be tested as soon as possible. The airport must collaborate with the HCDC to promptly carry out tests. At the airport, all the places where Patient 1,979 passed through must be detoxified and disinfected.

‘The airport will not be locked down, but it must be detoxified and disinfected. If necessary, the authorities can narrow down cases, take samples, and quarantine all F1 and F2 cases here,’ Mr. Tuyen ordered.

By Thanh Son – Translated by Thuy Doan

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