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Friday, October 22, 2021

HCMC proposes amending some criteria on pandemic control

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – HCMC has proposed amending some criteria on Covid-19 pandemic prevention and control, including counting the numbers of critical Covid-19 cases and deaths instead of the number of community-transmitted cases.

The city has sent its comments on the Ministry of Health’s draft guidelines on safe and flexible adaptation to the pandemic, the local media reported.

According to the draft guidelines, there are three criteria to safely live with Covid-19. Specifically, at least 80% of residents at age 50 and older must be fully vaccinated against Covid; the medical centers of wards and communes must have medical oxygen and establish pop-up healthcare stations and teams to take care of Covid patients who are being treated at home and the number of ICU beds must be at least 2% of the highest forecast caseload.

There are four levels of transmission risk: low, moderate, high and extremely high. The criteria for risk assessment include the number of new weekly cases out of 100,000 residents and the proportion of vaccinated residents 18 and older. If cities and provinces fail to get a minimum of 80% of people aged 50 and older vaccinated, they must upgrade the severity of anti-pandemic measures by a level.

As for the ICU bed criterion, HCMC proposed that at least 2% of the beds must have ventilators and 5% of the beds must be equipped with oxygen cylinders.

The city also suggested that at least 80% of people at age 65 and above or 50% of people aged 50 and older must be fully vaccinated, instead of a minimum of 80% of people aged over 50. The city also proposed counting Covid-19 recoveries and considering them as those who had received two vaccine shots.

The criterion of the number of new weekly cases out of 100,000 residents should be replaced with the number of critical cases and deaths as cities and provinces where the pandemic has reached every corner will find it hard to meet the criterion.

Regarding the pandemic transmission levels, HCMC proposed two solutions. In the first solution, localities with 95% of people 18 and older having got the first vaccine shot can ease restrictions but must raise the severity of anti-pandemic measures by a level if they fail to vaccinate at least 80% of people 50 and older.

Under the second solution, if localities fail to vaccinate at least half the residents at age 50 and above, the transmission risk there will be upgraded by a level.

HCMC also proposed not taking direct contacts of Covid-19 cases to a quarantine facility to reduce the cross infection risk and save resources. Localities should be allowed to take the initiative on quarantine plans.

The city also suggested that new Covid-19 cases should be those confirmed by PCR tests in the community, excluding those in concentrated quarantine centers. The average cases in two consecutive weeks out of 100,000 residents should be a basis to assess the transmission risk.

In addition, the city suggested the number of people participating in outdoor activities should be higher than the number of those working indoors. Under the Ministry of Health’s draft guidelines, the two numbers are equal.

The ministry also required high-risk and extremely-high-risk areas to manage and treat Covid-19 cases at home. However, HCMC proposed applying the requirement to all areas.

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