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Ho Chi Minh City bans patients’ visitors, closes private clinics

Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 14:36 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City bans patients’ visitors, closes private clinics
A medical employee checks the body temperature of a visitor to Bach Mai Hospital, before the hospital is placed on lockdown, in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 29, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

All private clinics in Ho Chi Minh City have been ordered to close while local hospitals no longer allow visitors of the sick in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic.

The bans came into effect on Monday, March 30, following an urgent dispatch sent by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health to all hospitals in the city, the municipal Center for Disease Control, and districts’ medical centers and facilities on the same evening.

According to the document, all leaders of medical establishments are tasked with reviewing and monitoring patients, visitors of the sick, guests, and units and individuals involved in the provision of non-medical services at their institutioms such as sanitation, security, laundry, catering, and retailing.

Each sick person is allowed to be accompanied by only one family member to look after and provide them with emotional support.

Admission of new inpatients should be reconsidered, the health department said.

In addition, these establishments are asked to limit the number of entrances and exits, as well as notify patients and their family members about the ban on patients’ visitors.

The municipal Department of Health requested that hospitals keep track of patients’ family members who are present at their infirmaries, and collect health declaration for use in epidemiological investigations. 

When a COVID-19 infection case that is not an outpatient or medical employee is detected in a hospital setting, it must be promptly reported to the municipal health department and the entire ward, including patients, patients’ visitors, and medical employees, must be isolated.

A list of people who have been in close contact with the infection is to be swiftly compiled while the affected infirmary must close its doors to new patients.

Ho Chi Minh City’s leaders attend an online meeting on COVID-19 prevention and control, March 30, 2020. Photo: Ho Chi Minh City Press Center

Ho Chi Minh City’s leaders attend a teleconference on COVID-19 prevention and control, March 30, 2020. Photo: Ho Chi Minh City Press Center

If cross infection occurs in a hospital, that institution has to immediately stop admitting new patients, except in emergency cases, as well as isolate the entire hospital. The treatment area for severe patients must be placed in absolute isolation.

Meanwhile, all cosmetic surgery, physiotherapy and rehabilitation establishments operating at polyclinics and hospitals have been temporarily suspended from Monday, except in cases of emergency. The ban also applies to all private clinics.

The suspension is in place as Ho Chi Minh City chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong told an online meeting on COVID-19 prevention and control on Monday that the complicated developments at Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi, to which at least 33 COVID-19 infection cases can be traced, is a lesson for health facilities in the southern metropolis.

Ho Chi Minh City has recorded 47 cases of COVID-19 infections so far, of which ten have recovered.

Currently, five COVID-19 patients in the city have tested negative for the virus at least twice, while the remaining cases are being quarantined and treated in stable health.

Nationwide, there have been 204 infections confirmed, with 55 having been discharged from the hospital free of the virus as of Monday.

No death related to the disease has been recorded in Vietnam to date.

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