HCMC quarantine zones face risk of being overloaded

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Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) plans to set up a new field hospital with 1,000 beds at Phu Tho Stadium in District 11 if the number of Covid-19 infections reaches over 1,000. SUPPLIED/VIET NAM NEWS

As the number of Covid-19 cases in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) has increased in recent days, concentrated quarantine centres are at risk of being overwhelmed.

According to the municipal Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (HCDC), more than 21,400 people are currently in some form of quarantine in Vietnam’s most populous city.

Of the figure, 7,770 are in concentrated quarantine areas, with the rest at home or special accommodations.

If F1 cases later test positive, then the F2 cases must be isolated in concentrated quarantine areas.

HCMC plans to build a new field hospital with 1,000 beds at Phu Thọ Stadium in District 11 if the number of Covid-19 infections exceeds 1,000.

Health workers, beds and medical equipment will be prepared for the field hospital.

Earlier, the municipal department issued a Covid-19 response plan for treatment, with three scenarios – fewer than 100 cases, 100-1,000 cases and 1,000-5,000 cases.

The establishment of the field hospital is part of the southern Vietnamese city’s preparation for the worst-case scenario.

The city’s health department is also planning to set up other field hospitals at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Centre in District 7, and culture and sports centres in city districts, with a total capacity of up to 5,000 beds and 1,000 ventilators.

Tan Phu district is considering using district cultural houses, children’s houses, and political training centres as quarantine zones.

The city has five hospitals for Covid-19 treatment, Cho Ray, Cu Chi Field Hospital, HCMC Children’s Hospital, the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Can Gio Covid-19 Treatment Hospital, with a total of more than 970 beds and 42 ventilators.

The city has also requested military units to use military areas as concentrated quarantine sites to respond promptly if the city has more than 3,000 cases.

Go Vap District Health Centre director Nguyen Trung Hoa said the district continued to promote screening, focusing on high-risk places, testing in quarantined areas, so F1 cases could increase. The health centre has set up an 80-bed quarantine area located at the Go Vap District Political Training Centre, but in the long run, it needed to increase its capacity.

Binh Thanh district has recorded the second highest number of infections in the city in this outbreak with 49 cases. The district’s quarantine area has 585 beds but it is forecast that the F1 cases will increase, putting pressure on the existing quarantine area. The district has used schools in the area to set up quarantine centres with a capacity of 200-300 beds, said Dinh Khac Huy, chairman of the district people’s committee.

To solve the problem of overloading quarantine areas in districts, HCMC People’s Committee deputy chairman Duong Anh Duc has agreed to allow localities to set up quarantine centres in local hotels.

Duc asked the municipal Department of Health to provide urgent instructions for districts about this task.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has announced it will reduce electricity prices and power bills for customers from June to December following the government’s approval.

Tourist accommodation establishments will also receive a price discount on electricity bills.

The concentrated quarantine areas and places for medical examination of Covid-19 patients will receive a 100 per cent discount off the retail electricity price. Medical facilities used for Covid-19 examinations, tests and treatment will receive a 20 per cent discount.