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Ho Chi Minh City ceases mass COVID-19 testing at airports, train stations

Thursday, April 23, 2020, 11:05 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City ceases mass COVID-19 testing at airports, train stations
Passengers declare their health status and have their samples taken at the Saigon Railway Station in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City will stop its mass screening for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at airports and train stations from Thursday as the city has recorded no new cases for more than two weeks, the municipal Center for Disease Control said the same day.

A total of 13,861 samples had been taken from passengers at Tan Son Nhat International Airport and 5,599 from those at railway stations by Wednesday, the center said, adding that 6,281 had also been screened for the virus at factory worker lodgings.

All tests have returned negative, which proves there is no virus in the community, an expert preferring to stay anonymous said.

The epidemic is now under control in Ho Chi Minh City so it would be inefficient to continue the mass testing, the expert added.

Local authorities are currently screening people entering and leaving the city for illness signs at 62 checkpoints.

The city has confirmed 54 COVID-19 cases to date, 52 of them having exited hospitals, according to the disease control center.

The number of suspected cases has hit 382, with 380 having already tested negative for the novel coronavirus and the remaining two waiting for their results.

The city has gone 16 days without any new infection recorded.

City health workers are still monitoring 45 recovered patients. Thirty-eight of them have been tested and 37 already got a negative result. One is waiting for theirs.

The other seven are to have their samples taken on schedule.

Vietnam has reported no new patients for a week, as the national tally still stands at 268 cases.

A total of 223 have recovered from the disease while nobody has died from the pathogen in the Southeast Asian country.

The Vietnamese government decided on Wednesday to ease social distancing restrictions given a slower infection rate since April 4, allowing non-essential stores and services to reopen subject to local conditions.

People are still advised to limit unnecessary outdoor travels.

They are required to wear face masks whenever in public and maintain a physical distance of at least two meters in social interaction.

Officials have publicly said that the country should be prepared to adapt to 'a new normal,' hinting at continuing life when the disease has not been completely eradicated given the absence of a proven drug and vaccine.


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