Dozens of medical workers at a Ho Chi Minh City hospital have tested negative for COVID-19 once, after coming into contact with a pregnant Cambodian woman and her mother who illegally crossed the border into Vietnam for a medical examination, according to the municipal Department of Health.
Their illegal entry was uncovered on Monday, Nguyen Tan Binh, director of the health department, said on Wednesday.
The 33-week pregnant woman and her mother boated from Cambodia to bordering An Giang Province in Vietnam on April 20, Binh elaborated.
They made the illegal entry because the pregnant woman was suffering vaginal bleeding and wanted a medical check-up at a Vietnamese hospital.
Both caught a bus to Ho Chi Minh City from An Giang before hailing a motorbike taxi to get to Tu Du, a leading and crowded obstetrics and gynecology in the city and the country.
The two women used Vietnamese IDs for the medical examination registration and hid their Cambodian nationality as well as illegal entry, Binh said, quoting a Tu Du report.
The pregnant woman was hospitalized and diagnosed with placenta previa, which occurs when a baby’s placenta partially or totally covers the mother’s cervix.
During their check-up, hospital staff found out the two’s real identity and illegal migration so they sent them to a quarantine ward, as Vietnam requires all arrivals from outside the country be quarantined to prevent COVID-19 spread.
The hospital has identified 39 direct contacts of the two women, who are doctors, nurses, and nurse assistants.
All of them and the two Cambodians have tested negative for the coronavirus once.
Ho Chi Minh City has detected 68 instances of illegal entry since the beginning of this year, Binh revealed.
The Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control has recommended that medical centers and private clinics keep a close eye on border jumpers coming for medical check-ups.
“There are patients who have illegally entered Vietnam, using public transportation or hiring private cars to visit medical facilities in Ho Chi Minh City,” the center said in a statement.
“The health sector warns medical facilities, including small clinics, and the people to keep vigilant against instances of illegal entry and timely deal with them in accordance with regulations.”
Those living in Cambodia and wanting to come to Vietnam for medical examinations are required to adhere to regulations on entry and quarantine to prevent COVID-19 transmission, the center added.
Entrants who have completed their mandatory quarantine and tested negative for COVID-19 can then go on to use the medical services they are looking for.
Vietnam has logged 2,865 COVID-19 patients, including 1,571 locally-transmitted cases, since the pathogen first struck it on January 23, 2020, according to the Ministry of Health’s data.
The Southeast Asian country has gone 33 days without detecting any community transmission.
Recoveries have reached 2,516 while 35 patients have died, most having suffered critical pre-existing conditions.
The government has urged everyone to stay on high alert as the virus is taking a toll on its neighbors Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand.
Fireworks displays originally meant to celebrate Reunification Day (April 30) have been canceled around Vietnam.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Cambodia has surged to over 11,000, with daily spikes recorded in the hundreds, while its deaths have risen to 82, according to statistics.
Thailand’s tally has mounted to almost 60,000, with more than 160 deaths, whereas Laos has locked down its capital to prevent transmission.
Vietnamese border jumpers have been discovered sneaking into Vietnam from Cambodia to dodge obligatory quarantine over the past few weeks.
Việt Nam’s COVID vaccine developer stops third phase trial due to volunteers shortage
HÀ NỘI — The third phase of clinical trials of Việt Nam’s homemade COVID-19 vaccine COVIVAC have been halted, due to a shortage of volunteers.
The Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) under the Ministry of Health said that they are struggling to find people to test the drugs because so many have already been vaccinated.
A representative from IVAC told online newspaper dantri.com.vn on Tuesday that the institute needs around 4,000 volunteers for the third phase to be conducted this month.
The representative said: “The coverage of the COVID-19 vaccine in Việt Nam is very high. Therefore, we have difficulty recruiting volunteers who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine and meet the other criteria of the study. Volunteers from the same community are preferred as we can’t recruit a few volunteers from different places.”
This institute has been asked to seek out other options, including research on a booster vaccine dose for future use.
COVIVAC has been researched and developed by IVAC since May 2020. It is Việt Nam’s second COVID-19 vaccine, following Nanocovax to enter the clinical trial phase.
The COVIVAC vaccine is a Newcastle vector vaccine (NDV), which binds the protein S expression gene of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and is produced using embryonic chicken egg technology. This technology is also used to produce seasonal flu vaccines circulating in Việt Nam.
According to the report, in phase one, COVIVAC vaccine was tested on 120 people, aged 18-59 years old, distributed into four test groups, 25 people each with vaccine doses of 1μg (microgram), 3μg, 10μg and 1μg + 1.5mg excipient CpG 1018, and the placebo group had 20 people injected with phosphate-buffered saline, pH=7.2.
As a result, all four vaccine dose groups had no adverse reactions to the vaccine. Regarding the immune response, all four different dose groups of COVIVAC vaccine had different levels of immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies and anti-S protein IgG antibodies. —
Private preschool teachers struggle to earn living due to pandemic
HÀ NỘI — Thousands of teachers at private kindergarten schools across the country are struggling to earn a living after nearly seven months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Đào Thị Minh Thúy, of Trung Văn Alley, Hà Nội, is a teacher at Tổ Kén Private Kindergarten School. She said she has not received any income since schools closed.
Thúy has already spent all of her savings to cover her daily expenses and bring up her two sons. Now she has to borrow money from her relatives to survive.
“Our lives have become more difficult. My husband, who worked at a local hotel, also lost his job due to the pandemic,” Thúy said.
Thúy said her sons are young, two and four years old, so she has to stay in her rented room to take care of them. She can not get a temporary job to earn a living.
Nguyễn Thị Thu Hồng, a teacher of Ánh Hồng Private Kindergarten School, has also been out of work for over six months. She has just got a job at a hair salon.
“I have to earn living,” she said.
She was very sad after deciding to work at the hair salon, Hồng said.
“I love children and the work of a preschool teacher, but I have no choice,” she said.
Thu Quỳnh, a teacher of TK Bé Yêu Private Kindergarten School, of Hoàng Mai District, said she is now working at a milk shop.
Quỳnh said she tried to wait until her school can re-open, but failed.
“I have to earn money to raise my children, I can’t wait any more,” she added.
She earns about VNĐ7 million (US$309) per month from the job at the milk shop, she said.
The money is not much but it helps cover daily expenses, she said.
“However, from the bottom of my heart, I still want to work as a preschool teacher. I love my job so much,” she said.
Kindergarten schools dissolved
Trần Thanh Hà, the owner of TK Bé Yêu Private Kindergarten School, said she has had to sell all her equipment and dissolve her school.
Hà said she has run out of money and can not continue paying over VNĐ40 million ($1,770) each month to hire the infrastructure for the school.
“I had to borrow money from the bank to maintain the school over the past months,” she said.
The debt she owes to the bank is in the hundreds of millions of đồng.
“I can’t afford more,” she said.
“There is no way to make money to maintain the school anymore. I cried a lot when I decided to close the school that I established 13 years ago,” she said.
Trần Thị Dâu is the owner of two private kindergarten schools in Biên Hòa City, Đồng Nai Province. She said she has had to find many ways to make money to maintain the schools.
“I run an online shop that sells candies, foods and school supplies to earn money,” she said.
“I have tried hard to maintain the schools, however, if the schools will not be open in the next two months, I will have to dissolve one of them. I can’t bear any more,” she said.
Data from the Ministry of Education shows that 95.2 per cent of private preschool education institutions have had no revenue for at least six months, leading to 81.6 per cent of schools not being able to pay salaries for their teachers.
Minister Nguyễn Kim Sơn said private preschool education institutions are currently responsible for educating 22.3 per cent of preschool-age children.
It is estimated that 90,500 employees are working in private institutions at more than 19,000 facilities across the country.
However, due to the pandemic, many private preschools have been closed, leading to a lot of teachers moving on to other jobs. This risks leaving 1.2 million children of preschool age with no place to study, he said.
“This is not a small number,” he said.
Deputy Minister Nguyễn Thị Minh said the education ministry has worked with the other ministries and sectors to propose solutions to the Government to remove difficulties for teachers and private preschools.
The ministry has already proposed policies that maintain jobs and support managers and teachers at private preschools, she said.
Preferential credit policies should also be issued to private preschools so that they can repair facilities and purchase teaching equipment to resume their operations, she said.
Statistics from the ministry reveal that there are about 11,210 private preschools that need credit support policies to resume operations, she said.
Sơn said the ministry has also proposed a package of VNĐ800 billion (US$35.3 million) to help private preschools recover their operations after the pandemic.
Đỗ Chí Nghĩa, a standing member of the Nation Assembly’s Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Adolescents, said the Government, the education ministry and other ministries have issued policies to support teachers of private preschools.
Hà, the owner of TK Bé Yêu Private Kindergarten School, said, “This is really good news for teachers and private preschool owners.”
Hà hopes that the Government will soon approve these policies so that the support packages can be used to restore school operations and teachers can continue with their vocation. —
Vietnam announces 14,508 new COVID-19 cases
The Ministry of Health registered 14,508 additional coronavirus infections in Vietnam on Wednesday, together with 2,704 recoveries and 196 mortalities.
The latest cases, including two imported and 14,506 domestic transmissions, were detected in 60 provinces and cities, the ministry said, elaborated that 8,081 patients caught the virus in the community.
Ho Chi Minh City logged 1,675 of the latest infections, Can Tho City 989, Soc Trang Province 757, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province 756, Tay Ninh Province 729, Binh Duong Province 642, Binh Thuan Province 584, Dong Nai Province 509, Hanoi 467, Khanh Hoa Province 365, Lam Dong Province 222, Hai Phong City 141, Thua Thien-Hue Province 141, Da Nang 99, Quang Nam Province 56, and Quang Ninh Province 23.
Vietnam had confirmed 13,966 locally-acquired infections on Tuesday.
The country has found 1,247,358 community transmissions in all its 63 provinces and cities since the fourth virus wave erupted on April 27. A combined 989,235 of them have recovered from COVID-19.
Ho Chi Minh City has been struck badly with 472,133 patients, followed by Binh Duong Province with 282,873, Dong Nai Province with 87,755, Long An Province with 38,250, Tay Ninh Province with 29,357, Tien Giang Province with 25,030, An Giang Province with 23,404, Dong Thap Province with 22,634, Can Tho City with 18,715, Binh Thuan Province with 17,399, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province with 15,833, Khanh Hoa Province with 13,745, Hanoi with 10,947, and Da Nang with 6,121.
Vietnam logged only 1,570 locally-transmitted infections in total in the previous three waves.
The health ministry reported 2,704 recovered patients on Wednesday, taking the total to 992,052.
The toll has mounted to 25,448 mortalities after the ministry recorded 196 deaths on the same day, including 68 in Ho Chi Minh City, 20 in Dong Nai Province, 19 in Binh Duong Province, 17 in An Giang Province, and the remaining in 16 other provinces and cities.
Vietnam has documented 1,252,590 patients since the COVID-19 pandemic first struck it early last year.
Health workers have given upwards of 123 million vaccine doses, including 1,348,139 shots on Tuesday, since inoculation was rolled out nationwide on March 8.
Nearly 72 million of the country’s 98 million people have got at least one dose while almost 52 million are now fully vaccinated.
Vietnam aims to fully inoculate 100 percent of its adult population this year. Many provinces and cities are immunizing children aged 12-17 against COVID-19, using Pfizer-BioNTech shots.
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