The direction was announced at a teleconference presided over by Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan on the same day. Attending the conference were the Standing Board of the HCMC Party Committee and the standing boards of the Party committees in 24 districts at 26 locations around the city.
HCMC Party Chief Nguyen Thien Nhan explained the reason behind strict measures, such as mandatory face mask wearing in meetings, that the city is applying at the moment to combat Covid-19. He said that it is wiser to caution and keep everything under the control of the healthcare units rather than let it spread frenziedly from 100 cases to 10,000 cases in only a fortnight like other nations.
Presently, HCMC has a good action plan when in May 2020, the city can serve around 24,000 quarantined people. However, the 350 healthcare staff of the city who specialize in contagious diseases, even working 3 shifts, can only treat 600 patients at max. Therefore, more training sessions need to be held for physicians to share the workload, along with bed preparation in case of a disease boom.
Sadly, even with such an effort to improve treatment capacity, HCMC can only handle 1,000 patients simultaneously. It is critical not to let the infection quantity surpass this number.
The HCMC Party Chief hoped that state officers be more careful in their daily tasks to stay strong and healthy in this fierce fight.
In the meeting, Standing Deputy Chairman of HCMC People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem presented Direction No.26, issued on March 12 regarding task for preventing and fighting Covid-19 in the new state.
Accordingly, the Standing Committee of the HCMC Party Committee demands that consultation teams of the Party organizations in all levels, the local authorities, offices of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, and other social-political units put the combat against Covid-19 at their top priority. Leaders of these organizations are responsible for directly monitoring disease prevention tasks in local areas.
All resources in the society are mobilized to maintain the public security and health. Any organizations or individuals violating the city’s instructions on disease fighting will be strictly punished.
The HCMC People’s Committee is asked to prepare several scenarios and solutions to cope with the outbreak at different scales, among different groups of people, in different environments. This organization is also requested to deliver proper guidance for its sub levels to carry out on-site tasks in accordance with the motto of ‘Five On-site Instructions’.
The task of monitoring people entering Vietnam via the three modes of air, water, and land must be more strictly implemented, specially focusing on those from epicenters.
The HCMC Department of Finance is requested to ensure sufficient finance for disease fighting tasks, isolation tasks, and face mask provision in schools, while the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade is asked to work with companies which produce face masks, hand sanitizers, and anti-virus soap to guarantee enough goods for the market’s high demands. All cases that take advantage of this sensitive time to increase the prices of these products must be severely punished in order to stabilize price.
The HCMC High Command should prepare a plan to organize centralized isolation locations while cooperating with the HCMC Department of Public Security for monitoring tasks of isolation and seal-off areas to ensure stable daily activities of all residents there.
The HCMC Propaganda Commission and the HCMC Department of Information & Communications are both commanded to have the local press clearly publish disease prevention methods to raise citizens’ awareness, protect themselves effectively, and report suspicious cases to the local authorities to prevent a possible outbreak. Frequent updates on the disease status are offered to minimize worry among the public and avoid underestimating this dangerous virus. All cases of fake or incorrect news provision must be sternly punished.
The Standing Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union in HCMC must strictly follow instructions of the Health Department in volunteering to help those in need. Senior students from Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine and members of the Vietnam Young Physicians’ Association should be ready for the fight against Covid-19 when in need.
Summarizing the task of combating Covid-19 in Vietnam, Deputy Chairman of HCMC People's Committee Le Thanh Liem stated that the country is entering the second phase when infection sources come from various nations. HCMC reported 4 infected cases, 3 of whom recovered from the disease.
The city has so far carried out the quarantine task successfully. It has also distributed 5 million brochures in Vietnamese, English, and Chinese about disease prevention methods, ensuring all residents in the whole city well informed.
HCMC until March 12 has 30 centralized isolation locations with 3,251 beds, 6 of which are of city level. It is going to build more to reach the total beds of 24,000.
Presently, 594 cases are self-isolated at home.
Both HCMC Pasteur Institute and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases can now perform virus detection tests.
Since HCMC is a large urban area welcoming people from several regions in the country, it might be complicated to monitor disease contamination. In the upcoming time when students are back to school, the task proves more challenging.
Therefore, the above Direction must be more closely observed to avoid any possible outbreak like the situation of other cities such as Hanoi and Da Nang City.
In the meeting, Chairman of HCMC People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong revealed that at present, the cost of the meals for a person in an isolation center is VND74,000 per day (approx. US$3.2), exclusive of drinks. He added that the city is trying its best to serve people being quarantined because of this virus even with limited finance.
He also mentioned the determination not to let any healthcare officer and other people on duty work more than 12 hours continuously a day.
Taking part in the online meeting were HCMC Standing Deputy Party Chief Tran Luu Quang, Chairman of HCMC People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairwoman of HCMC People’s Council Nguyen Thi Le, HCMC Deputy Party Chief Vo Thi Dung.