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Stay home as much as possible to avoid catching COVID-19: Hanoi chairman

Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 12:39 GMT+7
Stay home as much as possible to avoid catching COVID-19: Hanoi chairman
Hanoi chairman Nguyen Duc Chung speaks at a meeting on March 23, 2020. Photo: Xuan Long / Tuoi Tre

Hanoi will enter the peak phase of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic in the next two weeks and people are strongly advised to stay home as much as possible, the capital chairman’s Nguyen Duc Chung said on Monday.

Chairman Chung made the statement when he was chairing a meeting of the municipal steering committee on COVID-19 prevention in the capital.

The Vietnamese capital is treating 39 COVID-19 patients, 30 of whom arrived in Vietnam by plane from epidemic-hit regions, chairman Chung said.

The other nine are cross infections.

“Our city has well controlled the COVID-19 epidemic to date,” Chung said.

“There have been only nine local transmission cases, equal to 1.5 cross infections per one million people in the capital.”

Capital authorities have kept community transmission at bay thanks to their timely tracing and isolation of people returning from outbreak-battered regions, the chairman remarked, adding that they have taken preventive measures for a month such as closing schools and restricting mass gatherings.

Hanoi will enter the peak phase of the COVID-19 pandemic from now until April 5, during which pathogen carriers are expected to show symptoms.

“We have to focus our resources on early detection to mimimize cross infection in this phase,” Chung said.

“This is the decisive stage where we will know if we win or lose this COVID-19 battle.

“Early detection, isolation, limited cross infection, and successful treatment will lead to a victory.

“If we fail to early detect cases and let them spread in the community, the number of infected patients will quickly multiply.”

People in Hanoi are strongly advised to stay home as much as possible, except for essential trips outside, from now until April 5, Chung underlined, noting they have to wear face masks and walk two meters from one another when outdoors.

People are recommended to walk in one direction when they go shopping at the supermarket, he said.

The chairman insisted on all hands on deck to timely identify suspected cases, quickly test them, and swiftly confirm infections.

Hanoi has already prepared to receive 20,000 Vietnamese returnees in the coming time.

Vietnam presently requires all arrivals to be isolated in collective quarantine camps for 14 days -- the advised incubation period of the virus. 

The country has barred entry to all foreigners and demands all entrants declare their health status.

Passengers are required to fill out health declaration forms when traveling on long-haul buses, trains, tourist boats, and domestic flights.

Vietnam has confirmed 123 cases of COVID-19, of whom 17 had already exited hospitals by Friday last week.    

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