HÀ NỘI — The military sprayed disinfectant at the Tân Triều facility of the National Cancer Hospital (K Hospital) in Hà Nội’s outlying district of Thanh Trì Friday afternoon after a cluster of 10 COVID-19 infections were found here.
Forty-five officers, including 20 from the chemical arm of the military and 25 from the Hà Nội Military Command, in full protective suits along with two decontamination vehicles and two chemical sprayers were deployed to shower antiseptic solutions (mostly Chloramine B) over several areas of the facility.
The units were also deployed to disinfect the Kim Chung facility of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Đông Anh District on Thursday as 38 positive COVID-19 cases were detected at the hospital – including medical workers – along with several others related to people who had spent time at the hospital.
All three K Hospital facilities in Hà Nội were put under lockdown from Friday morning following the news of the positive tests from six patients and four relatives of the patients – all in the hepatobiliary faculty of the Tân Triều facility.
Initial investigations show the source of infection could be a 63-year-old woman from Nam Định Province who had undergone treatment at the tropical diseases hospital for about a month since March 30 and was transferred to the K Hospital on April 27, deputy health minister Trần Văn Thuấn said during a trip to the perimeter of the hospital with Chairman of Hà Nội People’s Committee Chu Ngọc Anh on Friday morning.
For the time being, K Hospital will only admit serious cases lower-level medical establishments can’t handle, Thuấn said, adding that contact tracing and testing of all patients, visitors, staff and service workers at the hospital must be sped up.
Further measures would be implemented depending on the seriousness of the outbreak, he added, and in the meantime, all medical staff, patients and their relatives will be quarantined within the hospital until further notice.
The 5am notification of the hospital’s lockdown surprised many patients, visitors and family members of inpatients, leading to a crowd forming outside the hospital in the following hours.
Thuấn said Hà Nội’s authorities should conduct COVID-19 testing for all people surrounding the hospital as well.
Chu Ngọc Anh said the Tân Triều outbreak is much more complex than the outbreak in tropical diseases hospital as it is near a residential area.
He urged nearby residents to be more cautious and follow prevention measures like wearing masks and refrain from large gatherings.
The city will ensure the supply of essential products and goods to the hospital while police will maintain checkpoints around the hospital to ensure no unauthorised exits or entries and to keep surrounding businesses shut.
Hà Nội’s leader also dismissed the possibility of a city-wide lockdown at the time being.
The northern province of Ninh Bình, due to COVID-19 developments, has decided to stop receiving visitors to its religious and tourism sites since Friday morning until further notice
The province also ordered that all incoming arrivals from areas with COVID-19 cases in the community and especially patients or relatives that have gone to the tropical diseases hospital in Hà Nội since April 14 must declare their health status and travel history.
Kindergarten schools will be shut starting next Monday, while primary to high schools can stay open but with COVID-19 prevention measures tightened. — VNS