Hanoi protects Covid-free zones, speeds up coronavirus testing

06:00 | 03/09/2021 Society

(VEN) - Barriers and a green board have been put up at the entrances to residential areas of Hanoi where no Covid-19 cases have been reported, outlining measures that non-residents must take before entering. The move joins the capital’s strict implementation of social distancing and mass vaccination campaign to control the pandemic.

Speeding up testing

From mid-July to August 9, 634 cases out of 1,369 local infections were detected in the community, including Tho Am hamlet cluster in Thanh Tri District, Hoa Voi cluster in Quoc Oai District, as well as Phung Market cluster in Thach That District.

hanoi protects covid free zones speeds up coronavirus testing
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam (first row, third from the right) did an ad hoc inspection of Covid-19 control activities in different places in Hanoi on August 4

As of early August 9, the capital city documented 1,792 infections since the fourth wave of Covid-19 erupted on April 27. Of these, 1,075 cases were detected in the community and 717 others in quarantine sites or locked-down areas. The outbreak has appeared in medical facilities, manufacturing plants, office buildings, businesses, supply chains, and wholesale markets, and will likely spread unless additional drastic measures are taken.

Having acknowledged the importance of testing in the pandemic’s control, the Hanoi Department of Health will conduct a large-scale testing campaign from August 10-17 of about 300,000 residents in high-risk areas and those with a high risk of infection. The municipal health sector is determined to optimize the social distancing period, which is expected to end on August 23, to detect infections.

The target groups include freight forwarders, traders at markets and supermarkets, public sanitation workers, taxi drivers, and workers at industrial parks.

hanoi protects covid free zones speeds up coronavirus testing
Chair of Hanoi People’s Committee Chu Ngoc Anh visited an isolated area on May 31

The city’s party committee ordered relevant agencies to urgently increase testing capacity to over 200,000 samples per day and return the test results as soon as possible. The committee also tasked agencies to mobilize medical forces of the police, army and private sector to take samples, ensuring speed, accuracy, efficiency and safety. The testing drive is part of the local health sector’s efforts to detect cases, curb the outbreak and separate Covid-19 patients from the community in order to gradually control the pandemic.

Prioritized testing for ‘red zones’ Hanoi plans to test a total of 1.3 million people for SARS-CoV-2 using real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests between August 9 and 17. This is believed to be the largest sample collection ever in the city. High-risk groups will be prioritized for testing. The city has divided testing populations into red, orange and green groups.

The first priority is the “red group”, which includes residents of wards and communes at very high risk of infection and those who have to travel and meet people for work.

The second priority is the “orange group”, which includes people working in factories, enterprises, production facilities, traditional markets, supermarkets, hospitals and medical centers and people in risk areas according to regulations of the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.

The “green group” consists of people who live in “green zones”, which means pandemic-free areas in the city, who do not have to travel or come into contact with other people.

Testing for people who report such symptoms as a cough and fever in their medical declarations continues.

Apart from RT-PCR tests for “red group” members, high-risk residents and the “green group” in high-risk areas, city localities are taking the initiative in implementing quick tests for their residents in accordance with the health sector’s guidelines. About two million quick tests are expected to be carried out in the city to provide data for the city Department of Health to do risk assessments and prepare further testing plans.

hanoi protects covid free zones speeds up coronavirus testing
Chair of Hanoi People’s Committee Chu Ngoc Anh (middle) inspected and directed traffic management on Belt Road 3

To reach the target, Hanoi People’s Committee Chair Chu Ngoc Anh assigned responsibility to the city’s Health Department in testing while the city’s Center for Disease Control was told to conduct epidemiological investigations as well as identify risk areas and the number of samples needed to be tested.

The city’s districts and towns were asked to coordinate in making lists, taking samples, mobilizing local forces to ensure a smooth collection of samples and avoid cross infection during the collection of samples, he said.

Tran Thi Nhi Ha, Director of the Hanoi Department of Health: The capital’s health sector is determined to realize its plans as quickly as possible in order to detect infections, curb the outbreak, separate Covid-19 patients from the community, thoroughly trace F1, lock down and narrow “red zones”, protect “green zones” and gradually control the pandemic according to the direction of the government, and the party committee and people’s committee of Hanoi.

Nguyen Hanh