Hanoi speeds up PCR testing for returnees from Da Nang hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) –
Hanoi is striving to complete the implementation of RT-PCT testing, a real-time reserve transcription polymerase chain reaction, ahead of August 20 for 75,000 people who visited the central city of Da Nang – a COVID-19 hotspot – and returned to Hanoi from July 15, according to a leading official.

At a meeting in the capital on August 10, Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung also asked people returning from Da Nang from July 8 to fill in the medical declaration form and those from July 15 to undergo PCR testing. 

The official requested the municipal Department of Health to closely monitor hospitals and medical facilities to prevent the disease outbreak, adding that suspected cases must be tested immediately.

Director of the department Nguyen Khac Hien reported that so far 98,440 have returned from Da Nang to Hanoi, including over 75,810 returnees from July 15. 

The city has carried out quick testing for more than 75,100 people and PCR testing for 859 others, detecting one positive for the SARS-CoV-2 that causes the disease.

Hanoi has raised its COVID-19 alert level as it is currently, as Chung said, at “very high” risk of coronavirus transmission.

At a meeting of the city’s steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control on August 5, the chairman said Hanoi must conduct PCR tests for the disease even if the number of tests can reach hundreds of thousands since only this testing method can confirm whether a person is negative or positive for SARS-CoV-2.

He asked local hospitals to carry out timely PCR tests for any people returning from pandemic-hit areas and showing cough or fever so that patients won’t have to visit different hospitals like a recent case in Bac Tu Liem district because the later they are detected, the more virus from them could spread to others.

He demanded continued review of all people coming or returning from central Da Nang city – the current COVID-19 cluster, nearby Quang Nam province and other places related to confirmed patients. Aside from filling in health declarations and being monitored, they also need to self-quarantine at home.

Additionally, any people travelling from Da Nang since July 15 still need to undergo PCR tests though they have had rapid tests, Chung said, asking commune-level clinics, district-level health centres and hotline operating units to send staff to take samples for testing when receiving information from local residents, who must also self-quarantine pending test results.

At this meeting, Chung repeated the request that workplaces in Hanoi must arrange body temperature checking, hand sanitiser and fumigation while keeping a safe distance must be practiced at restaurants, and bars, night clubs, festivals and events with mass gatherings banned.

Meanwhile, at an online meeting between the central Government and localities on August 7, he said the capital is also speeding up the examination of “F1” people (those having close contact with others who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2) and “F2” people (those interacting with F1 people). F1 are subject to real-time PCR tests and concentrated quarantine, while F2 must practice self-quarantine and have their health monitored regularly.

He noted local people must wear a face mask in public from August 7 or face a fine.

One day earlier, the municipal Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control convened a meeting at which Secretary of the city’s Party Committee Vuong Dinh Hue requested the activation of all prevention and control systems.

Priority was given to contact tracing, cracking down on illegal immigration, conducting large-scale testing, and assessing local capacity and demand for equipment.

He also ordered that relevant agencies safely organise the national high school graduation examinations, which were scheduled for August 8-10, and remaining district-level Party congresses before August 18.

The city was also set to prepare human and capital resources to support Da Nang and Quang Nam province in their fight against the pandemic.

To contain the spread of COVID-19, the administration has regulated penalties for 13 types of violation related to the disease prevention and control.

Notably, any people who do not wear face masks at public places will be fined up to 300,000 VND (13 USD). Those improperly dispose of used face masks at public places will be fined a maximum of 5 million VND, or up to 7 million VND if they litter pavements or roads with discarded face masks. Besides, those hiding the COVID-19 status of themselves or others will face punishments of up to 2 million VND./.