Medical staff sprays chemical to kill mosquito in Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) –
Hanoi’s Health Department held a meeting on March 31 to mobilise all available resources as precautions for a Zika outbreak, after the Ministry of Health raised the Zika virus emergency level to 2.

Head of the department Nguyen Khac Hien said alarm bells are ringing, as approximately 8,000 foreigners entering the capital city through Noi Bai Airport on a daily basis.

According to him, 62 local general hospitals are tasked with keeping a close watch on their patients, and communities across the city must monitor residents returning from overseas – especially Zika-hit countries.

The city is operating 65 mobile disease-prevention teams and stockpiling a large amount of relevant chemicals and medical equipment.

A promotion campaign will be carried out at border checkpoints so visitors know where to go if they have any symptoms of Zika.

Locals are advised to protect themselves and their families using mosquito repellent, and securely cover all containers of water to prevent mosquitoes from entering them and laying eggs.

Currently, Hanoi has no cases of Zika virus. Six suspected dengue-fever samples were tested, producing negative results.

According to the WHO, 59 countries and territories have recorded Zika cases. Some foreigners, after leaving several Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, were also reported to have tested positive for Zika.

Zika is mainly transmitted through the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which also carries dengue fever. The virus has been linked to microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with unusually small heads and, in the vast majority of cases, brain damage. Currently there is no vaccine or specific medicine to treat the disease.-VNA