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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Health Ministry issues criteria for four Covid transmission risk levels

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The Ministry of Health on October 13 issued guidelines on specific criteria for four Covid-19 transmission risk levels—low, moderate, high and extremely high—as stated in the Government’s Resolution 128 on safely and flexibly living with the pandemic.

According to the guidance, there are three criteria to assess the pandemic transmission risk: the number of community-infected cases, the vaccination rate and the treatment capacity, the local media reported.

As for the first criterion, there are four levels of the number of community-infected cases out of 100,000 residents per week in line with the World Health Organization’s guidelines: fewer than 20, from 20 to fewer than 50, from 50 to fewer than 150 and from 150, corresponding to low-risk, moderate-risk, high-risk and extremely-high-risk areas, respectively.

Meanwhile, there are two levels of the proportion of residents aged 18 and above getting at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine: less than 70% and 70% and above. Cities and provinces can adjust the vaccination rate in line with their actual situation.

This month, at least 80% of residents aged 65 and above must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. In November, a minimum of 80% of people aged 50 and above must get two vaccine doses each.

In addition, cities and provinces must establish Covid-19 treatment facilities and ensure an appropriate number of beds at intensive care units to be prepared for the highest pandemic transmission risk.

Districts and towns must work out plans to set up pop-up healthcare stations and teams to take care of Covid-19 cases in the community and provide oxygen to medical stations in communes, wards and towns.

If cities and provinces fail to meet the third criterion, they must not downgrade their  transmission risk levels.

They must upgrade the level if they fail to meet the requirements on the vaccination of residents 65 and older in October and people 50 and older in November, except in cases where the localities face an extremely high risk of transmission or have no Covid cases.

To adapt safely and flexibly to the pandemic and control it effectively, cities and provinces should draw up plans to respond to the pandemic in line with the pandemic transmission risk levels and deploy the plans when the pandemic breaks out.

They should also enhance the training of medical workers to improve their contact tracing, testing, quarantine and treatment.

Testing must be conducted in areas and on people at risk of infection. People from high-risk, extremely-high-risk areas or areas under lockdown should be tested as well.

Fully vaccinated people and those who recovered from the disease will have to take a test if required.

Only people from extremely-high-risk areas or areas under lockdown and direct contacts of Covid-19 cases will be sent to a centralized quarantine facility. However, the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, pregnant women and those below 18 years of age can self-quarantine at home.

Localities must accelerate the vaccination, prioritizing people 50 and older, those suffering from underlying health conditions, pregnant women and laborers in industrial parks and clusters.

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