Efforts needed to protect “soldiers in white coats” in second wave of COVID-19 hinh anh 1Health workers take test samples (Photo: VNA) 

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam has recorded additional 255 COVID-19 cases since July 25, of whom 14 are health workers, including two doctors, 10 nurses and two medical students.

The figures were shared at a virtual seminar on protecting soldiers in white coats from the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic held on August 5 by the Health Ministry’s Vietnam Health Trade Union.

Health workers account for 6 percent of new infections

President of the Vietnam Nurses’ Association Pham Duc Muc said that 14 health workers, or 6 percent, contracted the disease since it broke out again in Vietnam on July 25.

“The rate of health workers infected with coronavirus in the new wave of the COVID-19 is equivalent to statistics of the International Council of Nurses in 77 countries (around 7 percent). At this time, health workers, more than ever, are in need of protection and encouragement from the Government, agencies in the health sector and people nationwide,” said Muc.

According to the Health Ministry’s assessment, there appears to be a lack of health workers, although just over 200 people tested positive for the virus in the latest wave. The ministry has sent competent health workers to the Da Nang epicenter, while the municipal People’s Committee has also called on other localities such as Hai Phong, Binh Dinh and Binh Thuan to send doctors to support the city. However, if more cases are reported, there will be surely a shortage of medical personnel.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Chief Representative in Vietnam Kidong Park said that the world has recorded many cases infected in the community. After social distancing measures are applied, the disease has been put under control in many countries. Currently, they are also stepping up measures to minimise transmission.

Efforts needed to protect “soldiers in white coats” in second wave of COVID-19 hinh anh 2Medical workers of Viet-Tiep Friendship Hospital in Hai Phong city head to Da Nang (Photo: VNA).

For cases detected in Da Nang, Park said this reminds that a few number of infections does not mean that the disease is no longer contagious, as there are infection cases with no symptoms.

The pandemic cannot end immediately, he said, so it is necessary to stay vigilant and the prevention of infections at hospitals and health clinics must be carried out all the time, not just during the outbreaks.

At some hospitals in Da Nang which are the disease hotspots, surveillance systems can detect infected cases. However, there are still undetected cases which may be patients’ families and medical staff, Park said, asking everyone to stay alert and implement disease prevention measures.

The reversal status that no one expects

Muc said: “We are very anxious, although we all know sooner or later health workers will contract the disease when caring for patients. That doctors and nurses become patients is the reversal status that no one among us expects. Doctors and nurses are most at risk of COVID-19 infection when they have to care for patients for a long time or perform small operations that can make the SARS-CoV-2 transmit”.

In the current context, the health of doctors and nurses is not their own property, but the property of the health system, as if they are infected, patients will not receive the best care and the health system will lack a service force.

Therefore, the sector and its trade union should raise their voices to protect health workers on the front line of the COVID-19 fight, and it is also time to honour tireless and silent contributions of the medical staff, particularly nurses.

Efforts needed to protect “soldiers in white coats” in second wave of COVID-19 hinh anh 3Delegates at the seminar (Photo: VietnamPlus).

Pham Thanh Binh, President of the Vietnam Health Trade Union, said that the union is exerting its effort to support medical workers contracting the disease.

The union has provided 2 million VND (85.5 USD) for each health worker and mobilised businesses to present another 2 million USD each. In addition, the trade union also granted 50 million VND to those in quarantine at Da Nang C Hospital and 50 million VND to Hue Central Hospital where 25 severe cases are being treated./.

 The seminar is part of the White Blouse Protection Programme jointly held by the Vietnam Health Trade Union and the Labour and Trade Union Magazine. The event aims to encourage health workers to protect themselves and encourage patients and people nationwide to unite and coordinate closely to win the disease.