Two branches of a US$11-million makeshift hospital are being constructed in Ho Chi Minh City that will have 500 beds in total to treat novel coronavirus patients when there is a sudden surge in the number of infections, the municipal Department of Health said on Monday.
The construction was announced by Nguyen Tan Binh, director of the department, in a meeting between the standing board of the local Party’s Committee and leaders of Ho Chi Minh City’s 24 districts as well as relevant agencies to discuss ways to deal with the novel coronavirus threat in the city.
Vietnam has confirmed eight positive cases, including five Vietnamese, one Vietnamese American, and two Chinese.
One of the Chinese has been cured while the other is being treated at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Vietnamsese American is receiving care at the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases.
One of the five Vietnamese was discharged on Monday after being cured by the provincial hospital of Thanh Hoa, located in north-central Vietnam.
The makeshift hospital branches will admit, monitor, and treat suspected and confirmed cases when the number rises over 500 patients upon its competion on February 15, Binh said.
Such a number beats the capacity of the isolation wards at the existing hospitals managed by the department in Ho Chi Minh City, the director said.
The makeshift hospital branches will have 500 beds, with at least 30 intensive care beds, upon completion.
The first branch is being built in Cu Chi District, around 30km to the northwest of the city center.
It will boast 300 beds, including 20 intensive care beds.
The second branch is being constructed in Nha Be District, about 23km to the south of the city center.
It will feature 200 beds, including at least 10 intensive care beds.
The branches will be equipped with ventilators, monitors, X-ray machines, personal protective wear, ambulances, and more.
Doctors and other medical staff will be seconded from such major hospitals in the city as 115 People’s Hospital, Gia Dinh People’s Hospital, Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital, Truong Vuong Hospital, and others.
The municipal Department of Health is charged with coordinating the operations of the improvised hospital branches.
The Military Command of Ho Chi Minh Municipality under the 7th Military Region of the Vietnam People's Army is tasked with preparing resources to cooperate in building the hospital and in carrying out antiviral activities in military units.
It is estimated to cost VND255 billion (US$10.9 million) to build and outfit the hospital branches.
When the number of cases surpasses 500, the 500-bed Pham Ngoc Thach Hospital, specializing in treating lung diseases, in District 5 will be utilized to deal with the situation.
Binh suggested that the central government allow the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases to test suspected novel coronavirus cases.
The Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute is currently the only institution permitted to perform tests on suspected patients dwelling in Ninh Thuan Province southward.
Vietnam has isolated 236 suspected cases – those defined by the Ministry of Health as suffering a fever, coughing, and coming from outbreak areas – including 163 testing negative for the virus and the remaining 73 in quarantine as of Monday.
The novel coronavirus first surfaced in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.
It has killed 362 people, including 361 in China and one in the Philippines, and infected over 17,000 others around the world ever since.
The World Health Organization declared it a public health emergency of international concern on January 31.
The virus has spread to more than 20 countries and territories, namely Vietnam, the U.S., Germany, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and more.