HCMC’s medical authorities struggle to track all Da Nang returnees


Ho Chi Minh City has seen an emergence of COVID-19 community cases with 2 imported from Da Nang. In a bid to reduce risks of a further spread of COVID-19, thousands of Da Nang returnees in all parts of Vietnam have been required to report to local medical authorities and take COVID-19 tests.

However, in a press conference on 29th July, the Hồ Chí Minh City Centre of Disease Control (HCDC) made an alarming statement that it cannot monitor the total number of Da Nang returnees who arrived after 1st July. 


Many Da Nang returnees have yet to take COVID-19 tests


Da Nang returnees_health checks
Thousands of people have taken Hai Van Pass on personal vehicles to leave Da Nang and circumvent health checks
Image credit: VTV 

The city’s difficulties in tracking all Da Nang returnees are largely due to the various means of transportation they took when travelling between Saigon and Da Nang.

Aside from airplanes, many travelled between the cities by buses, ferries, railway trains, and even motorbikes, all of which do not require people to record their personal details at the time of ticket purchase or at any checkpoints along the way.

Da Nang returnees_COVID-19 testing
Image adapted from: Trung tâm Kiểm soát Bệnh tật Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh

This means that if those people choose not to come forward or nobody alerts local authorities about their itineraries, the virus will remain in the community and trigger more cases. 

Meanwhile, many people have visited and transited in Saigon within a short amount of time during the last 14 days that can be the virus’ incubation period, which makes tracking positive cases down even more difficult.

Da Nang returnees_quarantine
Image credit: Thời sự VTV

HCDC also reported to have received lots of indirect updates via its medical hotline regarding the number of Da Nang returnees who need to be tested, but the number of health declarations it has received by now is sadly still far smaller compared to the actual number of Da Nang returnees in the city.

This is because there’s still a large number of Da Nang returnees in Saigon who have yet to take COVID-19 tests, meaning that the city is now filled with more danger of community infection than ever.


HCDC calls for every resident to act responsibly amid a spike in new cases


Da Nang returnees_COVID-19 testing
Image credit: Ho Chi Minh City Medinet 

At the present, Ho Chi Minh City is ramping up its inspection efforts in every corner of the city to track down Da Nang returnees. Medical authorities also urge every resident to alert local authorities immediately upon finding any Da Nang returnee who has yet to report themselves to local medical authorities. 


9,000 Saigon residents have taken COVID-19 tests


Da Nang returnees_COVID-19 testing
Image credit: Ministry of Health

As of 29th July, about 9,000 Saigon residents have made health declarations, out of which 6,000 have been tested for COVID-19. Despite the large number of people that need to be tested, the testing process will be carried out step by step to prevent mistakes.

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Mr Nguyen Tri Dzung, Head of HCDC sharing COVID-19 updates during a the press conference
Image credit:
Thanh Nien

According to Mr Nguyen Tri Dzung, there are 13 medical institutions in Saigon that are qualified to do testing at this point, including both public and private institutions. Out of this number, 5 medical institutions can conduct testing on 2,000 to 3,000 people per day.

HCDC is still patiently and eagerly waiting for more residents to make their health declarations and take COVID-19 tests. The sooner you are tested, the sooner your test results will come out.

The faster Saigon can quarantine people with positive test results, the fewer people in the community will be exposed to the coronavirus. So with everyone’s cooperation, Saigon will be able to suppress the COVID-19 outbreak sooner.


Many parts of Vietnam tighten preventive efforts to curb the COVID-19 spread


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Hoi An Ancient Town will enter semi-lockdown from 31st July onwards
Image credit: @miseo1307

Following Da Nang, Hanoi, Dak Lak, and Hoi An have been the next cities to announce semi-lockdowns to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

As Saigon is becoming the next center of COVID-19 community cases with 2 confirmed cases at the time of writing and thousands of Da Nang returnees remaining untested, its neighbors are going into overdrive to do testing.

Fearing that many illegal immigrants can avoid being tested in Saigon by transiting in Can Tho, medical authorities here have set up medical booths at the Can Tho Airport to conduct testing. As of 29th July, over 1,200 people arriving in Can Tho have been tested.

Thua Thien – Hue, a province neighboring Da Nang, has set up 3 checkpoints at its border with Da Nang where a group of soldiers, traffic police officers, and medical officers are stationed. Any vehicle from Da Nang approaching the border will be stopped for questioning and travellers will undergo a thorough health check.


Saigon residents need to act responsibly to curb the COVID-19 spread


Across Vietnam, we’re seeing a daily spike in the number of COVID-19 community cases, out of which are mainly Da Nang returnees. As the original source of infection is unknown, the virus needs to be controlled with more quarantines and lockdowns that may soon extend to more cities.

As the post-COVID-19 normalcy as we have known and enjoyed for the past 3 months will come to an end, more people will suffer physically and financially, and our country does not have the means to cushion a health and financial crisis on such a large scale. Now is as good a time as any to show your love for the country, by reporting for health checks if you are required to, and by staying at home and social distancing as much as possible at all times.

Let’s help Vietnam and Saigon to suppress the COVID-19 outbreak once again.

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Cover image adapted from: Trung tâm Kiểm soát Bệnh tật Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh

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