Ministry of Health sets up five inspection teams for COVID-19 control in southwest

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On April 18, a team led by Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long travelled to Kiên Giang Province to check COVID-19 prevention and control measures including vaccinations. VNA/VNS Photo. Hồng Đạt

HCM CITY — The Ministry of Health has set up five inspection teams for COVID-19 prevention and control measures, including vaccinations, in the southwest from April 18-30.

The teams will visit Cần Thơ and the provinces of Kiên Giang, Vĩnh Long, Đồng Tháp, Long An, An Giang, Tiền Giang, Bến Tre, Trà Vinh, Hậu Giang, Bạc Liêu, Cà Mau and Sóc Trăng.

On April 18, a team led by Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long travelled to Kiên Giang Province to meet the local Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control and checked activity at the international border gate and stations, quarantine areas, and a health centre in Hà Tiên city.

Speaking at the meeting, Hà Văn Phúc, head of the province's Department of Health, said that COVID-19 prevention and control at the border has been very stressful because neighbouring countries are seeing an increase in cases.

The province is at high risk of community transmission, Phúc said.

The control of migration through trails, border crossings and the sea is difficult, he added.

The province has already found 142 illegal immigrants.

The working conditions for soldiers at border stations are also difficult as they have to ensure strict control of migrants via the border and sea, he said.

All COVID-19 patients who enter the province are brought to Hà Tiên District Health Centre for treatment, he said, adding that the centre is small and can treat only 30 patients.

Phúc said the ministry should allow the province to set up a field hospital. The next day, on April 19, Chợ Rẫy Hospital in HCM City sent a team including 13 medical officials to the province to help set up the field hospital and COVID-19 prevention and control activities.

The province has three COVID-19 testing machines with the maximum capacity of 600 samples per day, but this number does not ensure rapid tracing as the ministry has required, he added.

Phúc said the ministry should give priority to providing two more real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction machines and other items related to COVID-19 tests.

Moreover, the province needs 20,000 rapid tests for COVID-19 diagnosis and 10 million pairs of medical gloves.

Phúc also suggested that the ministry should give priority to providing COVID-19 vaccines in the next phase of the national vaccination drive.

Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long said that the province should prepare for worst-case scenarios if COVID breaks out again.

Prevention and control of illegal migrants via the border and sea should be strengthened, Long said, adding that communication to encourage local people to become collaborators in COVID-19 prevention and control should be enhanced.

He told the HCM City Pasteur Institute and relevant agencies to help the province upgrade its testing capacity. VNS

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