Ho Chi Minh City takes rapid action as more locally transmitted COVID-19 cases found

Ho Chi Minh City has taken quick action immediately after several new locally transmitted cases of the coronavirus were confirmed on February 7.

Over 1,000 Tan Son Nhat airport staff were sampled for COVID-19 during screening tests on the night of February 6, 2021. (Photo: VNA)
Over 1,000 Tan Son Nhat airport staff were sampled for COVID-19 during screening tests on the night of February 6, 2021. (Photo: VNA)

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The southern economic hub detected 24 more COVID-19 cases on Sunday night besides the four cases announced by the Health Ministry earlier the same day.

All the new patients are staff members at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, belonging to the same luggage delivery team as the patient confirmed positive with the coronavirus over the weekend. They were all transferred to quarantine. The city is now tracking people who had close contact with them.

At a teleconference with the city’s authorities on February 8, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long urged the city to act more quickly in zoning off affected areas with links to the new cases, and conducting mass testing in those areas.

Long asked the HCM City Pasteur Institute to increase testing capacity to 5,000 samples per day, adding the Ministry of Health will support the city in controlling the outbreak at Tan Son Nhat airport. “We should act faster than the outbreak”, he stressed.

Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong ordered the competent authorities to find out the source of the outbreak so as to install effective prevention measures.

Festive activities during the traditional Tet holiday at Nguyen Hue Flower Street, Tao Dan Spring Festival, Phu My Hung Flower Street, and many other flower markets in the city should be streamlined and the number of participants limited, Phong said, adding that the events could be cancelled if prevention measures are not put in place.

Meanwhile, amid the COVID-19 pandemic becoming more complicated in recent days, the northern province of Quang Ninh has decided to suspend interprovincial passenger transport (road, inland waterways) in and out of the province from 6 am on February 8, except for special cases.

Intra-provincial passenger transportation (road, inland waterways) and private vehicle operations are still allowed to operate with strict COVID-19 response measures.

In the neighbouring province of Hai Duong, migrant workers from outside the province can return to their hometown for the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival if they test negative for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Ho Chi Minh City takes rapid action as more locally transmitted COVID-19 cases found ảnh 1

Large-scale testing is being accelerated in Hai Duong Province. (Photo: NDO)

The Steering Committee for COVID-19 Response in Hai Duong is carrying out mass testing for 43,000 workers in five industrial zones in Cam Giang district. The sampling is being conducted over four days, averaging 12,000 samples per day. The results will be issued to the workers before February 10. If they receive a negative result for COVID-19, they can return home to celebrate Tet according to their wishes.

For those who decide to stay in Hai Duong to enjoy Tet, the Hai Duong Provincial Youth Union has made 10,000 chung cakes – a traditional cake during Tet – to give to migrant workers, as well as to forces on duty in local isolation areas.

As of February 7, the Youth Union members have made 3,000 chung cakes and sent these to quarantined residential areas in Hai Duong, Kinh Mon, Cam Giang, Nam Sach, Thanh Mien and Ninh Giang, as well as to volunteer students participating in tracing and testing work.

On February 8, Hai Duong leaders visited and presented Tet gifts to more than 150 workers from outside provinces living in Tu Minh ward, Hai Duong city, each gift worth VND700,000.

Pham Xuan Thang, Secretary of Hai Duong Provincial Party Committee, extended his Tet wishes to all workers and their families, while encouraging them to overcome all difficulties and implement measures to prevent and fight the epidemic as best as possible.

He also suggested that landlords reduce rental fees for workers to share difficulties with them so they can enjoy a warm Tet in their rental accommodation as they would in their hometowns.