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14/09/2020 - 06:41

Hue remains peaceful between the two epidemic zones

The COVID-19 epidemic has reappeared for more than a month ago in Da Nang, Quang Nam, and then Quang Tri. Thua Thien Hue is located between two epidemic zones, but until now it is still peaceful with no positive cases detected in the community.

Deputy Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee Bui Thanh Ha (outer left) inspecting the prevention and control of the COVID-19 disease in Phong Dien district

The socio-economic activities still take place in the "new normal". Tourism remains open to visitors from non-epidemic locations. The industrial zones are still manufacturing and business offices are still open for transactions, of course in accordance with the regulations on epidemic prevention. Shops, restaurants, grocery stores ... are still open to the public. Why is Thua Thien Hue still at peace when it is surrounded by epidemic zones on both sides?

Due to limited association to the outbreak in Da Nang

Mr. Hoang Van Duc, Director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) of Thua Thien Hue province, said that epidemiologists made the first claim: because Thua Thien Hue people do not frequent the epidemic centers in Da Nang.

Specifically, Da Nang General Hospital and two adjacent hospitals, Hospital C, Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital are the centers of outbreaks of Da Nang. Since then, the disease has spread to communities in Da Nang and other provinces.

The first patients in Quang Nam and Quang Ngai all caught the virus from these epidemic centers when they came here for medical examination, treatment and medical visit. The first case of Quang Tri was also caused by visiting relatives under treatment at Da Nang General Hospital.

Due to the fact that Hue has a complete, multi-level health system, Thua Thien Hue people rarely go to Da Nang for treatment. Therefore, to date, the Thua Thien Hue people returning from epidemic areas have not reported associations to the outbreak centers.

Meanwhile, according to Mr. Duc, people from Quang Tri come to Hue every day for medical examination and treatment, in large numbers. As soon as Quang Tri discovered the first case (August 10), checkpoints were set up to tightly control gateways from Quang Tri.

People coming to Hue from Quang Tri must make medical reports and go to quarantine centers. For patients in Quang Tri and other provinces wishing to have re-examination and treatment at Hue Central Hospital, they must consult doctors online first, and if necessary, are then granted admission into the province for medical examination and treatment. At the same time, the hospital will prepare conditions for epidemic prevention to welcome patients and give them permission to pass through the provincial checkpoints.

Spreading through tourism: insufficient viral load

Immediately after the first positive case appeared in Da Nang (Patient 419, announced on July 25), respectively Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and some other provinces also announced positive cases for SARS-CoV-2 virus after returning from traveling in Da Nang. The Ministry of Health has identified the onset of the outbreak in Da Nang in early July.

Da Nang - Hoi An - Hue has become one combined destination, so a large number of tourists traveled between these three places during July. Some of these tourists arrived home in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other provinces and began to show symptoms. Thus, it is possible that the virus has also spread from Da Nang to Hue, but why has it not appeared to date?

According to Mr. Hoang Van Duc, the first case in Quang Tri (Patient 749) is typical of similar cases like this. On July 17, this person came from Quang Tri to Da Nang to visit family members who are being treated at Da Nang General Hospital. On 18/7, the patient took a coach to Hue, and came to have a dental work at Phap Viet Dental Clinic. Afterwards, the patient went to a restaurant for lunch with a friend.

After the person was confirmed as infected with the virus, the anti-epidemic forces tracked, quarantined and performed PCR tests of all associated people. However, the test results of the F1 people, especially those who directly examined the teeth for Patient 749, were negative. From the date of exposure to Patient 749 to now, it has been more than a month, but the health of F1 and F2 people are normal.

According to Mr. Duc, at the time Patient 749 arrived in Hue, the patient was only recently infected with the virus and the viral load was still low, so it could not infect others. Visitors from Da Nang to Hue, if they bring the virus, were in a similar situation.

Quick response, tight control

Very promptly, as soon as Da Nang and then Quang Nam and Quang Tri detected positive cases, Thua Thien Hue took measures to control the risks from these localities. Interagency checkpoints had been set up at all gateways to Thua Thien Hue by road, rail, air and sea.

At the same time, all villages and residential groups across the province conducted a thorough check of all subjects who came back or had contact with people coming back from the epidemic areas in July, to quarantine and test for the virus. Nearly 35,000 people associated with the epidemic area have been checked and controlled by testing, isolation and supervision.

Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee Phan Ngoc Tho said that up to date, Hue is still peaceful because we have not been careless. Although the epidemic at the beginning of the year was calm, the epidemic prevention system was still prioritized, so when an epidemic occurred in Da Nang, the system responded immediately to tightly control the situation. The whole political system along with the medical system has been fiercely involved.

And most importantly, the morale of the people has improved, both in terms of awareness and prevention methods. People know how to prevent the disease for themselves, voluntarily report medical history, and also report those who return from epidemic areas in their neighborhoods or villages.

"We were not negligent or extreme to close all borders, but we strictly controlled the outer borders to maintain economic and social activities in the province," said Mr. Tho.

By Minh Dan

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