Thousands of people are expected to be tested for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after two nurses and a patient at a major hospital in Hanoi were recently infected.
The Ministry of Health has tasked Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the Medical Services Administration, with leading a special anti-epidemic team to cope with the COVID-19 situation at Bach Mai Hospital, located in Dong Da District, Hanoi.
On March 20, a 54-year-old nurse who works at the HIV outpatient unit of the hospital’s center for tropical diseases and her 34-year-old colleague, who is in charge of reception in the isolation ward, tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
They were the first health workers in Vietnam to be diagnosed with COVID-19.
About 150 employees of the institution were quarantined after the two cases were confirmed.
On March 24, a 66-year-old woman from the northern province of Lai Chau was diagnosed with the disease. She had gone to Bach Mai Hospital earlier in March to have her pre-existing illness treated.
A total of 252 people, including 162 Bach Mai Hospital employees, 36 patients, and 54 family members of the patients, were isolated following the woman’s diagnosis.
The health ministry has ordered multiple units to carry out COVID-19 tests on all health workers, patients, and patients’ family members who have been to Bach Mai Hospital since March 10.
The sampling will take place from March 26 to 29, and about 1,000 people are expected to have their sample taken each day.
Bach Mai is a special-grade hospital and the largest general hospital in Vietnam.
It treats a daily average of 6,000 outpatients and 4,000 inpatients, while receiving 4,000 visitors of the sick in addition to having thousands of health workers.
The institution has temporarily stopped its on-demand medical examination and re-examination services, as well as shutting down its funeral home to minimize the number of people present at the facility each day.
The hospital now only receives patients who need emergency treatment.
The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 471,700 and killed more than 21,200 globally as of Thursday afternoon, according to Ministry of Health statistics.
Vietnam has confirmed 148 COVID-19 cases, with 17 having already been discharged from the hospital. No deaths related to the disease have been recorded in the country.
Hanoi has confirmed 51 infections.
Health workers in Vietnam have carried out 30,548 COVID-19 tests to date, with 30,400 returning negative results.