Vietnam’s testing capacity now was 1.7 times higher than during last year’s Danang outbreak, or the country’s second wave.
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has asked the Ministry of Health and localities to urgently map out plans to deal with a scenario of 30,000 people infected with the novel coronavirus.
The deputy PM emphasized at a working session with the National Steering Committee on Covid-19 Prevention and Control on May 11 that with the highly contagious UK and Indian variants of Covid-19 detected in Vietnam, testing must be considered as one of the most important tasks in the fight against the pandemic.
The country reported 125 locally-acquired infections on May 10, the highest daily spike since the fourth wave began late April and since the pandemic broke out earlier last year.
The Indian variant, present in various clusters in the current outbreaks, was more transmissible and can spread quickly through the air, especially in closed spaces, Dam said, adding that it was necessary to prepare for a worse-case scenario.
Rehearsal for receiving and treating Covid-19 patients in Vietnam. Photo: Xuan Lam
He said Vietnam’s testing capacity now was 1.7 times higher than during last year’s Danang outbreak, or the country’s second wave.
The deputy PM asked Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long to assign qualified medical staff to train health workers in 11 provinces that have not yet been capable of testing the novel coronavirus, so that the Covid-19 screening can be done regularly and yield faster results.
Minister Long also asked that hospitals with more than 300 beds set up a real-time-PCR laboratory to confirm suspected Covid-19 cases and avoid having to send samples elsewhere.
Deputy PM Dam has also asked the Ministry of Finance and finance departments in localities to arrange proper funding for the disease prevention and control activities, particularly funding for tests.
He said Vietnam would still be engaged in the strategy that has consisted of timely prevention, detection, isolation, zoning and treatment of Covid-19 cases.
Upgrading hospitals and building more make-shift hospitals
Doctors are treating serious Covid-19 patients in Vietnam. Photo: An Dy
The Hanoi Department of Health has reported that the capital city’s testing capacity has increased by 10 times (from 3,000 samples per day to 30,000 samples per day) and will continue to be raised.
Hanoi has to prepare for the scenario of 200-300 cases in the city, which means the testing capacity must reach 300,000-600,000 samples, the department said.
As the Covid-19 pandemic drags on, medical facilities need to ensure utmost safety, Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the Administration of Medical Examination and Treatment under the Ministry of Health, said at an inspection on May 10 at two high-risk hospitals in Hanoi, including Vietnam National Cancer Hospital (K Hospital) and the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases (NHTD).
Prof. Nguyen Quang Tuan, director of Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital, said his health center has added 300 beds, increasing the number of beds at the hospital to 700. Besides, there are other 200 beds for Covid-19 patients and people making closed contact with coronavirus-carriers.
In Ho Chi Minh City, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong said that the city is ready to set up more make-shift hospitals and plans to ensure treatment for 100-200 patients, even up to 500 beds.