Hà Nội to focus on high risk groups in COVID battle, less on case numbers

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Thăng Long Imperial Citadel, a popular tourist destination in Hà Nội prepared logistics to welcome back visitors from Wednesday. VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — To minimise deaths from COVID-19 and severe cases, Hà Nội is to focus on high-risk groups, offering them regular health checks, with less of a focus on the caseload number.

Nguyễn Thị Huệ, an elderly resident living in Đồng Tâm Commune of Hai Bà Trưng District, has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 but lives on her own.

The health officials of the commune visit her every week to test and check her health indicators like blood pressure.

“I am worried about the pandemic but prevention is better than cure. Though I am fully vaccinated, I wear a face mask when going out,” she said.

To reduce severe cases and deaths of COVID-19, Hai Bà Trưng District has ordered its 18 communes to have a list of elderly people and those with underlying conditions to offer regular health checks and examinations.

Each commune has about 300-500 people belonging to high-risk groups.

“Most of the infected cases here are mild and are treated at home. But in some families, infected people live with the elderly and some of the elderly haven’t been vaccinated,” Nguyễn Bích Phượng, a health officer in Đồng Tâm Commune said.

Case counting not necessary in Hà Nội

The city has about 105,000 infected people being treated at home, accounting for 95 per cent of its total infections and nearly 4,000 in hospitals.

The city has reported about 900 deaths with most of them being elderly people with underlying conditions and the unvaccinated.

The rate of fully vaccinated people above 12 in the city is 99.5 per cent and the rate for booster vaccinations is 55 per cent. The city aims to finish the booster doses for its residents in the first quarter of this year.

Officials said the cases count does not now reflect the whole story of COVID-19 in Hà Nội.

Trần Thị Nhị Hà, director of the city’s Health Department, said the city had ordered all districts to create a list of high-risk groups and ramp up the booster vaccination campaign for local people.

“This is important in reducing deaths and severe cases as well as the increase in number of cases. It is time to change the COVID-19 strategy in Hà Nội.”

She said the city would not necessarily announce the case count as the number in the community is now high.

“It is important to focus on the number of hospitalisations, progressions and deaths. These are important indicators,” she said.

Nguyễn Trọng Khoa, deputy head of the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment, said: “Cases counting is still mandatory according to the health ministry’s regulation.”

“The aim of this is to monitor the infected cases and have authorities monitor their situation. These cases can infect other people, including high-risk groups, which need close monitor and management,” he said.

He also emphasised the need to keep an eye on the high-risk groups, especially the elderly and those with underlying conditions who haven’t been fully vaccinated. — VNS

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