HCMC considers quarantining direct contacts of confirmed cases at home
By Le Anh
|A volunteer gives food to residents in an alley on lockdown in Binh Thanh District, HCMC. HCMC mulls over quarantining direct contacts of confirmed cases at home – PHOTO: PHONG VU|
HCMC – The HCMC Department of Health is weighing piloting home quarantining direct contacts of confirmed Covid-19 cases as many other countries have used this isolation measure, said deputy director of the department Nguyen Huu Hung.
At a press briefing on June 14 jointly held by the HCMC Departments of Health and Information-Communications, Hung said during home quarantine, direct contacts of positive cases would feel more comfortable than they would at centralized isolation centers. In addition, the government could save expenditures on quarantine centers.
However, not all people meet the requirements for home quarantine. Therefore, the measure will be applied in certain areas before it is expanded.
The Department of Health is considering using technologies to monitor quarantined people but will still protect their privacy, Hung added.
He said the extension of social distancing in the city in the next two weeks was necessary so the city could bring the current chains of coronavirus infection completely under control.
He also called on residents to strictly comply with anti-virus measures so that the city can get things under control in the next two weeks. Residents, in particular, should limit contact with others, minimize travel and record their travel history.
They should also limit visits to hospitals, Hung recommended.
Answering a question on whether residents can test Covid-19 on their own, Nguyen Tri Dung, director of the HCMC Center for Disease Control, said the job was not difficult but must be done as instructed by the health authorities. The Ministry of Health has recommended the solution but has yet to issue an official directive asking residents to test themselves.
The city is now home to 13-14 million people, so testing all of them is unfeasible.
Dung added that there are carriers of the coronavirus in the community but they have yet to be detected, so he was unsure when the pandemic could be put under control.
He agreed with Hung that the social distancing extension was necessary, adding that after one week, the city would re-evaluate the situation and consider maintaining, tightening or relaxing the order in some parts of the city.
At a meeting on June 14, HCMC Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong decided to extend the citywide social distancing in line with the Prime Minister’s Directive 15 for two more weeks. Go Vap District and Thanh Loc Ward in District 12 will begin the social distancing order in line with Directive 15 until June 30 after ending the 15-day social distancing period in line with Directive 16 at midnight, June 15.
According to the HCMC Department of Health, the city detected 894 Covid-19 cases in Thu Duc City and all districts as of this morning, June 15, ranking third in the country in terms of the number of Covid-19 patients. More than 11,300 people are being quarantined in centralized quarantine facilities and over 21,000 others at home.
Infection clusters in the city have been found mainly at boarding houses and residential areas. In addition, the virus has spread to industrial parks, hospitals and office buildings.