HCM City calls for locals and authorities to be wary of COVID-19 risks after Tết holiday

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HCM City locals wear masks outside while shopping for Tết items on late January. The city is prepared for a possible spike of new COVID-19 cases after the holiday. — VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Đăng

HCM CITY — HCM City is prepared for a possible spike in COVID-19 caseload after Tết, and has called on locals to strictly follow pandemic regulations.

Đỗ Văn Dũng, head of public health department at HCM City University Medical Centre, said that the city’s caseload may rise after Tết, as people had returned from their home provinces or holidays.

“If locals adhere to pandemic safety regulations, make regular health declarations and get their vaccine jabs as per the health department’s instructions, the rising caseload will still be under the city’s control,” Dũng said.

“Otherwise, vulnerable locals may be infected by the virus, leading to a rise of intensive cases.”

He said that the city’s Department of Health and relevant authorities also need to focus on defending against the highly-contagious Omicron variant and if there is a spike of the variant the pandemic may get out of control.

To defend against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, locals need to adhere to health regulations and make health declarations on their PC COVID-19 app so that the city can easily monitor new cases, said Nguyễn Thị Huỳnh Mai, chief of office at the city’s Department of Health.

The city has prepared for the possible rise in caseload after the holiday, such as providing instructions to hospitals to be ready, and having closed field hospitals ready to reopen within 24 hours if needed.

HCM City is also focusing on protecting high-risk locals, including those over the age of 50 and pregnant women, as well as vaccinating residents quickly.

Medical university students and medical staff from hospitals are reinforcing the city’s mobile medical stations.

Last weekend tens of thousands of locals from the Mekong Delta and other provinces travelled to HCM City to work after the holiday, many of whom had left the city due to the pandemic.

HCM City used to be the country’s COVID-19 epicentre with over 514,000 infections recorded in total as of February 7, mostly during the height of the fourth wave from May until late last year. However, the southern city’s outbreak has largely subsided in recent weeks, with cases and deaths fastly declining.

Hồ Hữu Đức, deputy director of a multi-level COVID-19 field hospital at Tân Bình District, said that before Tết the hospital admitted around five new patients everyday, but only one daily case during the holiday.

Nguyễn Thị Huỳnh Mai said that the number of daily new cases is dropping, and the patients admitted during Tết are under stable conditions.

It is screening entries to the city at the Tân Sơn Nhất Airport for Omicron cases. So far it has recorded 92 cases, including five community cases. — VNS

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