A Health Ministry delegation led by Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien inspected the prevention efforts for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Tan Son Nhat International Airport .

The minister held that the city should set up a field hospital like the Bac Thang Long hospital in Hanoi to stand ready to cope with emerging catastrophic diseases like MERS-CoV and Ebola by separating and supervising suspect cases.

As almost all hospitals in the city are overloaded, the minister stressed the importance of preventing the spread of viruses inside the hospital as well as hospital-acquired infections.

She also asked the Ho Chi Minh City International Health Quarantine Service to strengthen supervision over and communication on preventing MERS-CoV in the Tan Son Nhat International Airport while coordinating closely with healthcare agencies to monitor the development of the virus in the community.

Currently, a steering committee on MERS-CoV prevention and control has been set up at each of the four local hospitals assigned to receive and treat MERS-CoV patients, which are Cho Ray, Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Children’s Hospital 1 and 2.

The hospitals have also held training courses for their staff and healthcare workers in other medical establishments on preventing the spread of the virus while getting facilities and protective equipment ready to respond to any outbreaks.

According to Doctor Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases, the hospital has zoned off a 50-bed isolation ward, which is capable of expanding to other facilities should the number of patients exceed 60.

The hospital has also formed two mobile medical teams to offer timely treatment for suspect cases from the Tan Son Nhat Airport , he said.

The International Health Quarantine Service has put health declarations into effect for all passengers from the Republic of Korea and Middle Eastern countries while implementing screening measures to detect suspect cases.

Also on June 19, the Preventive Medicine Department under the Ministry of Health announced that the rumour of a MERS-CoV-infected person residing in the Keangnam Landmark Tower in Hanoi is false.

The ministry confirmed that as of June 19, Vietnam had not recorded any single case of MERS-CoV.-VNA