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Vietnam reduces treatment period for asymptomatic COVID-19 patients, tries quarantining mild cases at home

Vietnam reduces treatment period for asymptomatic COVID-19 patients, tries quarantining mild cases at home

Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 12:21 GMT+7
Vietnam reduces treatment period for asymptomatic COVID-19 patients, tries quarantining mild cases at home
Medical workers visit a COVID-19 direct contact at her home in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

The Ministry of Health has decided to shorten the duration of treatment and isolation for asymptomatic COVID-19 patients and the quarantine period for direct contacts and international arrivals to 14 days, while trying quarantining mild cases in Ho Chi Minh City at home.

A study on about 20,000 COVID-19 patients in Vietnam showed that nearly 70 percent of them did not exhibit any symptoms, while severe cases often developed bad conditions seven to ten days after testing positive for the virus, heard a meeting chaired by Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long on Tuesday afternoon.

The health ministry has thus made a number of changes to the regulations on treating and quarantining COVID-19 patients and direct contacts, based on the evolution of virus concentrations and clinical course.

Accordingly, symptomless patients being treated at medical facilities shall take real-time RT-PCR tests on the ninth and tenth days of their treatment.

If their test results return negative both times or positive with a low viral load, they will be discharged from the medical facilities and subject to no further home-quarantine but local medical monitoring for 14 days.

According to the health ministry, none of more than 400 recoveries testing positive for the virus again after being discharged from hospitals have transmitted the pathogen to the community. 

Therefore, it advised that local authorities not take any isolation and contact tracing measures, but continue medical monitoring, in those cases. 

Based on practice and the recommendations of the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and discussions with local authorities, the Ministry of Health also decided to reduce the quarantine time from 21 days to 14 days, regardless of concentrated isolation or home isolation, for COVID-19 patients' direct contacts and international arrivals.

COVID-19 patients arrive at a field hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, July 8, 2021. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

COVID-19 patients arrive at a field hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, July 8, 2021. Photo: Hoang An / Tuoi Tre

In Ho Chi Minh City, symptomless patients can be quarantined at home in a pilot scheme approved by Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son.

Those patients will take a real-time RT-PCR test on the tenth day of their treatment and can be discharged to continue quarantining at home if the test results return negative or positive with a low viral load.

They shall perform two more similar tests at home on the 14th and 21st days.

Medical workers contracting the virus are also allowed to self-monitor their health status at home, perform daily reports to local medical authorities, and take COVID-19 tests as prescribed.

COVID-19 direct contacts in very high-risk areas in the southern city will only be sent to concentrated isolation facilities if their residences do not meet the criteria set by the Ministry of Health for home quarantine.

They will take a real-time RT-PCR test on the seventh day instead of the 14th day of their treatment duration as before.

If their results are negative, they can be allowed to return home to continue quarantine.

The Ministry of Health on Wednesday morning confirmed 905 local coronavirus infections, including 666 cases in Ho Chi Minh City, raising the national tally to 35,409, with 9,553 recoveries and 132 deaths.

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