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Hanoi becomes Covid-19 hotspot as community spread is intense

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HCMC – The Covid-19 transmission rate in Hanoi is high, with the number of confirmed cases by community spread amounting to 19 over the past two days, with strong chances that the capital city could turn into a new coronavirus hotspot after the two northern provinces of Hai Duong and Quang Ninh.

Speaking at a meeting with the Health Ministry on February 1, Hoang Duc Hanh, deputy director of the municipal Health Department, said that one Covid-19 patient in the city was linked to Quang Ninh, while the remaining 18 cases were related to the country’s biggest coronavirus hotspot of Hai Duong.

All the competent forces in Hanoi are joining hands to fight the coronavirus, but they need to step up efforts and take more drastic measures, Chu Ngoc Anh, chairman of the municipal government, told the meeting.

Anh added that Hanoi is facing obstacles in terms of testing capacity and health experts. The city had set up a special team to direct anti-epidemic activities, but this team needs more health experts from the General Department of Preventive Medicine, the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and the Hanoi Medical University to aid the city in coping with the spread of the disease.

According to Hanh, Hanoi had collected 15,000 samples for Covid-19 testing and tested 93% of the taken samples. The city is able to test some 5,000 samples per day, failing to meet the current testing demand. It is set to test those returning from Chi Linh City of Hai Duong from January 1 and Van Don of Quang Ninh from January 5.

Besides this, contact tracing is difficult as many cases had remained in the community for many days before they were detected. Some of them had attended weddings and parties along with thousands of people before they were placed in quarantine.

Nguyen Thanh Long, Minister of Health, said that the transmission rate during the new coronavirus wave is much higher than that recorded in Danang in late July last year. This time, one infected case can spread the disease to at least 10 people having close contact and a person can contract the disease just 1-2 days after being exposed to Covid-19.

The health authority had yet to complete decoding the coronavirus genome, but a Hai Duong resident had been found to contract the new UK coronavirus variant upon her arrival in Japan. This variant is more transmissible than the virus’s previous version and some young Covid-19 patients’ health conditions deteriorated quickly, the health minister said.

The ministry will switch its optimal support from Hai Duong, which has improved its testing capacity to some 7,000 samples per day, to Hanoi to help break new transmission chains and contain the disease.

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