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Hà Nội strengthens hand, foot and mouth disease and diphtheria prevention


A doctor examines a child contracting with hand, foot and mouth disease at E Hospital in Hà Nội. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội’s Department of Health has asked preventive medicine units and facilities in the city to strengthen diseases prevention.

The move is in response to the emergence of diphtheria in the Central Highland and the surge of hand, foot and mouth disease in Hà Nội.

According to the General Department of Preventive Medicine, diphtheria has become an issue in a number of provinces in Central Highlands. As many as 78 infected cases have been reported in Đắk Lắk, Đắk Nông, Gia Lai and Kon Tum provinces and three people have died.

The department has directed the Hà Nội Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to provide professional training and guidance on the supervision and treatment of diphtheria and hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) to the health centres at districts.

All children subjected to the national expanded programme including those who use vaccination paid services should be reviewed.

It was a must to implement additional vaccinations for those who delay immunisation or have not been fully vaccinated, especially for vaccines containing diphtheria.

Hà Nội CDC has been requested to supervise agencies in carrying out preventive measures against diseases and work with educational establishments to ensure hygiene practices at schools. The centre is also assigned to provide preventive medicine and other equipment needed for prevention work.

To enhance awareness of infected patients and the community in the prevention and combating of diphtheria as well as HFMD, the Health Department promoted the adoption of effective preventive measures include frequent hand washing with soap and water, cleaning contaminated surfaces and soiled items like toys with soap and water and then using a dilute solution of chlorine-containing bleach to disinfect them.

People are recommended to fully vaccinate and avoid close contact with patients with the disease. Those who contract the disease should go to medical facilities for check-ups and treatment.

High risk of widespread of HFMD

Since the beginning of this year, Hà Nội has recorded 329 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease, equal to last year’s figure. However, the number of cases surged over the past the two weeks, according to Hà Nội CDC.

Đỗ Thiện Hải, deputy head of Infectious Department of National Hospital of Paediatrics said the number of children that came to the hospital for examination and treatment for HFMD has increased significantly. Many of them have been hospitalised, he said, adding that without timely intervention, it will leave an unfortunate situation for the children.

Trương Văn Quý, head of Department of Paediatrics of E Hospital said over the past three weeks, the department received between 10-15 patients check-ups for HFMD each day.

Particularly on July 7, it admitted four patients who suffered blisters on the skin, palms and feet. They also had high fever without interrupting for a long time.

“Unusual hot weather has heightened the risk of contracting diseases, including HFMD,” Quý said.

He added the epidemic might increase sharply due to the spread of the virus. HFMD is caused by a group of enteroviruses, of these coxsackie A16 and enterovirus 71 (EV71) are the most common.

An infected child could pass the infection to other classmates, he said. Currently, there is no vaccine or specific medication against HFMD.

It was necessary to bring a child to the nearest medical facility for check-ups and treatment if they had symptoms for more than two days or have fever above 39 degree Celsius with vomiting and difficulty sleeping, Quý said. 

To reduce the risk of catching the virus, he said, both children and adults should wash their hands often with soap and water many times throughout the day, and disinfect touched surfaces such as toys and doorknobs. —




Singaporean man sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Vietnam

A court in southern Vietnam on Friday handed a Singaporean man the death sentence for trafficking nearly ten kilograms of methamphetamine from Cambodia to Vietnam.

The People’s Court of Tay Ninh Province in southern Vietnam on Friday handed down the sentence to Cher Wei Hon, 40, on the charge of illegal drug trafficking.

In July last year, border guards inspected a ride-hail car that was carrying the foreign man on a National Highway 22 section near Moc Bai, an international border gate between Vietnam and Cambodia located in Tay Ninh Province.

As they scrutinized the man’s luggage, officers found ten plastic bags containing a white crystal, according to the indictment.

Cher confessed to the law enforcement officers that the bags contain methamphetamine, a white crystalline recreational drug that is illegal in Vietnam.

The man said he had known a Vietnamese woman, identified as Quynh, in the Cambodian capital city of Phnom Penh from whom he borrowed VND200 million (US$8,600) but was unable to pay back the debt.

Consequently, Quynh demanded the man carry mobile phones, iPads and drugs from Cambodia to Vietnam to write off his debt on a gradual basis.

With each successful shipment, she would slash the debt by US$500-1,000.

The man admitted he had trafficked drugs between the two countries around five times by the time of his arrest.

Late last month, the same court sentenced a 27-year-old Cambodian woman to death for trafficking around five kilograms of methamphetamine over the border from Cambodia.

If the shipment had been successful, she would have received $100.

Vietnam adopts a harsh stance against drug violators. Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine could face capital punishment.

Manufacturing or selling from 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics are also punishable by death.

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Returnees from Da Nang can go to work after quarantine without COVID-19 testing: HCDC

Ho Chi Minh City residents who recently returned from the central city of Da Nang, Vietnam’s current COVID-19 outbreak epicenter, can get back to work after finishing the required 14-day quarantine regardless of their COVID-19 testing status, the Ho Chi Minh City Center for Diseases Control (HCDC) has said.

Those who have finished the government-mandated quarantine period and exhibit no disease symptoms are eligible to return to their offices, even if they have not been sampled for COVID-19 testing or have been sampled with results still pending, according to an HCDC announcement.

However, these people must strictly take preventive measures, including wearing a face mask when leaving their house or at work, not going to crowded places, not staying in close contact with other people, washing their hands regularly, and self-monitoring their health condition.

In addition, they must keep a detailed record of their whereabouts from the date of leaving Da Nang until their test results are available.

As of Friday afternoon, as many as 13,000 people in Ho Chi Minh City who had returned from Da Nang from July 1 have yet to be sampled for COVID-19 testing, while 3,000 samples have not been tested, HCDC reported.

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health has requested competent district-level agencies to finish sampling all the remaining returnees from Da Nang by Sunday, August 9, and release test results by August 11.

Currently, Ho Chi Minh City has 13 institutions, including eight hospitals, authorized by the Ministry of Health to perform the COVID-19 confirmation test.

Eight more hospitals are capable of conducting conclusive COVID-19 testing and pending health ministry authorization.

The southern metropolis has reported eight COVID-19 cases since July 25, when Vietnam’s first locally-transmitted infection after 99 days was detected in Da Nang.

The central city has since logged 235 infections and seven fatalities.

Nationwide, Vietnam has logged a total of 789 COVID-19 cases, of which 395 have made a full recovery and ten, with underlying conditions, have died.


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Vietnam PM says risk of COVID-19 community spread ‘very high’

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Friday warned of a “very high” risk of COVID-19 community transmission as he urged national determination, solidarity and responsibility over the next two weeks to stamp out the current outbreak.

The risk of the disease spreading widely in the community in Vietnam remains “very high” for at least the next two weeks, the prime minister said while presiding over a virtual meeting on COVID-19 response on Friday morning.

The number of community-transmitted cases in Vietnam has risen by 333 since July 25, when the detection of a 57-year-old male patient in the central city of Da Nang ended the country’s streak of 99 days with no local infection.

The government chief thus ordered authorities to take greater responsibility and more drastic efforts to contain the pandemic, especially in outbreak hotspots.

Greater determination, solidarity and responsibility from the “entire political system” is needed, he stressed.

Provincial and municipal leaders are permitted to decide on specific measures in order to promptly and effectively minimize infection rates while medical facilities must stay vigilant to prevent the emergence of new COVID-19 outbreaks.

Social distancing must be strictly implemented in all COVID-19 hotbeds and fast and precise testing is the key to contain the spread of the virus, Phuc emphasized.

Phuc also stressed the need to wear a face mask at public places and in big cities, manufacture ventilators, and stay prepared to set up field hospitals in such localities like Quang Nam Province and Da Nang, which are the hardest hit by the current COVID-19 outbreak in Vietnam.

Speaking at Friday meeting, acting Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long reported that the number of people having installed the contact-tracing app Bluezone, which was domestically developed to track down people having close contact with COVID-19 patients, has shot up recently, especially in Da Nang, Quang Nam, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and northern Quang Ninh Province.

Over 8.5 million people have installed the app as of Thursday, August 6. The Ministry of Health said the app needs at least 50 million active users to have a meaningful impact on contact tracing.

Notably, 21 cases of people with direct and indirect contact with COVID-19 patients have been traced through the app, Long said.

Vietnam has recorded 789 cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday morning, with 395 recoveries and ten deaths.

More than 166,000 people are quarantined nationwide at hospitals, accommodation facilities or at their homes.


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