Hanoi utilises social distancing to eliminate F0 cases from the community
Taking samples for COVID-19 testing in Thanh Xuan Bac Ward, Thanh Xuan District. (Photo: NDO)
NDO – According to some experts, the number of COVID-19 infections (F0) in Hanoi has been decreasing during the time of social distancing but the reduction is not sharp nor sustainable; therefore, the capital city should continue to take advantage of social distancing to expand testing and eliminate F0 cases from the community.
Expanding testing for 1 million samples
Deputy Director of Hanoi Center for Disease Control (CDC Hanoi), Khong Minh Tuan, said that the city has been launching a large-scale testing campaign for people who are living in at-risk areas and facing high risks of infection.
The centre has recently coordinated with relevant agencies to take samples for 300 people in the first phase, including 186,000 people living in at-risk areas and a further 114,000 from high-risk groups.
Since August 9, the medical forces in districts around the capital city have taken 313,010 samples for testing, detecting 29 positive cases.
“Hanoi currently has many outbreaks in the community. In addition to blockade areas, we are conducting extensive testing of samples in non-blockade areas to detect F0 cases as soon as possible. Many people suffering from cough and fever were also tested despite having no relation to any epidemiology”, Tuan said.
He also noted that people facing high risks of infection are those who must travel a lot, such as shippers and market sellers, and the at-risk areas are places which have many sporadic cases with rapid developments.
Based on the test results for about 300,000 people, CDC Hanoi developed a plan for the second phase of expanding testing for around 1 million samples on August 16.
Commenting on the epidemic situation in Hanoi, Tuan said the number of patients has decreased in the past week, but not sharply nor sustainably because the infections were still high for several days.
“With the expansion of testing in the second phase, Hanoi can “catch” all scattered F0 cases in the community. It is hoped that this problem will be solved within the second social distancing period”, he added.
Assoc. Dr. Tran Dac Phu, former Director of Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health and senior adviser to Vietnam’s public health emergency operations centre, stressed that through the surveillance of cases with cough and fever symptoms and testing for over 300,000 samples on a large-scale, it can be seen that the infections and new outbreaks in Hanoi have decreased. The high number of infections were detected mainly in quarantine and blockade areas.
Assoc. Dr. Phu said Hanoi has implemented control measures promptly and drastically so that the epidemic would not break out during social distancing days under the Prime Minister’s Directive No.16 like in southern localities.
However, Hanoi should pay close attention to infections appearing in the supply chain because they come into contact with many people, leading to a high risk of spreading the pandemic, Phu said.
He also noted that the capital city needs to redesign the testing campaign in the coming time, towards prioritising subjects at risk of infection, people in hospitals, bank staff, postal workers and shippers.
Speeding up vaccination and taking advantage of social distancing to remove F0 cases
Assoc. Dr. Phu noted that Hanoi should speed up vaccination for people facing high risks, such as the elderly, those with underlying diseases and those living in at-risk areas, proceeding to the entire population.
Hanoi has passed the first half of the second phase of social distancing and should take cautious steps to ease distancing, added Phu.
He also emphasised that: “The epidemic is still complicated; therefore, if distancing decisions are removed, the epidemic will easily penetrate. We should ease the distancing requirements gradually. Areas that are facing high risks need to be blockaded tightly. The city must pay attention to protecting and expanding the “green zones”. If the “green zones” are lost, the epidemic will break out again”.
With determination to take advantage of social distancing and minimise people’s movement to screen F0 cases, the Deputy Director of Hanoi CDC asked all citizens to only go out when it is absolutely necessary.
“Notably, people suffering from cough and fever must make timely medical declarations. Those who are living near outbreaks should practice maximum distancing because there are still many extremely complicated outbreaks, such as in the districts of Dong Da, Thanh Tri and Dong Anh”, said Tuan.
To date, Hanoi has received over 1.9 million doses of vaccine and has basically injected all of the doses.
Translated by NDO
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