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Vietnam to extend COVID-19 testing to third-tier contacts, quarantine time to 21 days

Vietnam to extend COVID-19 testing to third-tier contacts, quarantine time to 21 days

Saturday, January 30, 2021, 14:02 GMT+7
Vietnam to extend COVID-19 testing to third-tier contacts, quarantine time to 21 days
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam answers COVID-19-related inquiries from the press, January 28, 2021. Photo: Quang Hung / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam is mulling escalation of COVID-19 prevention measures after new outbreak sites have been detected in the northern Hai Phong City and Quang Ninh Provinces and the Central Highlands provine of Gia Lai.

The COVID-19 clusters in Hai Duong’s Chi Linh City arose 10 days ago, said the Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam during the Thursday and Wednesday’s emergency meetings on COVID-19 prevention in Hanoi.

Sampling up to third-tier contacts

“The first batch of test on Thursday morning recorded 72 cases of COVID-19 infection in Hai Duong and 10 others in Quang Ninh. These figures might shoot up during the night and the morning after, but we should not be too concerned as we extended testing up to third-tier contacts of the infected,” the deputy PM stated.

According to Dam, the medical sector has not missed a pace since the outbreak started, as they approached the issue since the first infection is confirmed.

This kind of swift and proactive responses has not been seen in the wake of the outbreak in Da Nang City back in July 2020, he added.

However, as a new, fast-spreading strain of the coronavirus has been reported on the Hai Duong cases, medical workers manage to pass on at least four rounds of patients within a span of 10 days.

“That the strict [COVID-19 prevention] guideline at Quang Ninh’s Van Don Airport failed to contain the virus can be attributed to negligence in just a minute,” he denoted.

“Other outbreak is bound to happen if this kind of negligence continues.”

By Thursday afternoon, the hospitals in charge had obtained over 4,000 samples from Hai Duong Province had release results from the second batch of tests in the Thursday evening.

Despite the escalation of COVID-19 transmission tally, Dam and the members of Vietnam’s National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control remains optimistic. The epidemic prevention authority as well as experts are striving to contain the outbreak within 10 days.

“It took us 23 days to detect the transmissions in Da Nang. This time, it took us 10 days, and we are committed to containing it within another 10 days,” Dam vowed.

21-day quarantine

According to Dam, there is currently a slack in monitoring transmission risk of persons after they left 14-day concentrated quarantine. For that reason, the quarantine duration should be extended to 21 days.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the premier endorsed a new directive, which allows municipalities to order social distancing based on realistic situations, as well as the previous Directive 15 and Directive 16.

In the meantime, the PM also ordered a 21-day social distancing period in Hai Duong’s Chi Linh City.

He also let Hai Duong City decide whether or not social distancing at other districts and cities of the locale is needed.

In the meantime, the Van Don Airport in Quang Ninh was shut down from midday of Thursday.

The leaders of Quang Ninh Province also called on social distancing or shutdown of other areas of the locale.

Two COVID-19 clusters were recorded in Hai Duong and Quang Ninh Provinces with a total of 185 community-based infections confirmed between Thursday morning and Saturday morning.

Vietnam has documented 1,739 COVID-19 cases as of Friday morning, with 1,448 recoveries and 35 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.

The country had spent nearly two months detecting no local transmission before the new clusters were uncovered.

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