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No local COVID-19 transmission recorded in Ho Chi Minh City for over 2 weeks

Thursday, December 17, 2020, 17:46 GMT+7
No local COVID-19 transmission recorded in Ho Chi Minh City for over 2 weeks
The alley at 97 Pham Phu Thu Street in District 6, Ho Chi Minh City, where a COVID-19 patient resides, was no longer sealed off on December 16, 2020. Photo: Nhat Thinh / Tuoi Tre

It has been 15 days since Ho Chi Minh City last recorded a local COVID-19 infection, thanks to authorities’ relentless efforts to suppress a recent outbreak.

The southern metropolis has been able to control four recent community-based COVID-19 cases, Dr. Le Hong Nga, head of the department of infectious disease prevention under the Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control (HCDC), told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

On the evening of November 30, the Ministry of Health recorded patient 1,347, who previously had contact with patient 1,342, who had in turn contracted the virus from another person in quarantine. Vietnam had gone 88 days without detecting a single infection in the community before these cases.

An urgent meeting was convened between the health ministry and Ho Chi Minh authorities on the same night to track all individuals coming into contact with the two patients.

On the following day, the prime minister ordered the prompt detection of those having direct and indirect contact with these patients to prevent the disease from spreading further into the community.

The HCDC continuously updated the locations where the patients had gone to, and called on residents to inform local medical centers if they were also present at these places.

Patients 1,348 and 1,349, who came into close contact with patient 1,347, were documented on December 1, sparking even more concerns over a serious outbreak in the city.

The local health sector was constantly under pressure and had to work relentlessly to track, quarantine, and conduct tests on all at-risk individuals during this period.

The HCDC also asked the national steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control to assist in the effort by using information technology.

The city was eventually able to contain the spread thanks to the suitable approach, infection source detection, and the experience acquired from previous COVID-19 waves in the country.

The prompt and accurate media coverage of local newspapers and the health sector also raised awareness of epidemic prevention and control among citizens.

Despite the success, the COVID-19 pandemic may still penetrate Ho Chi Minh City in the future, as the city has been receiving international flights carrying stranded Vietnamese citizens, experts, and diplomats.

Local authorities have been investing a lot of resources in the management of immigration and quarantine procedures to eliminate risks from imported cases.

Vietnam’s COVID-19 tally stood at 1,405, with 1,252 recoveries and 35 deaths as of Thursday afternoon.

Ho Chi Minh City has recorded 143 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

The Vietnam Military Medical University officially began the human trial of made-in-Vietnam COVID-19 vaccine – Nanocovax – on Thursday morning.

About 200 people have signed up for the trial over the past days, of whom 60-70 have been selected.

After receiving the shots, the volunteers will stay in a designated area for 72 hours so that scientists can evaluate the vaccine's safety level.

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