The healthcare sector is preparing guidance and scenarios for the pandemic fight in line with the government’s directions, with testing and treatment capacity in the focus. Nguyen Thanh Long, Minister of Health, spoke to Binh Nguyen about the ministry’s preparations for worst-case scenarios.
As directed by the prime minister, 19 southern cities and provinces initiated social distancing from July 19 in line with Directive No.16/CT-TTg dated March 31, 2020 on social distancing measures. What solutions and plans has the Ministry of Health (MoH) to ensure testing and treatment in the region?
|Nguyen Thanh Long, Minister of Health |
The health sector prepared guidance and scenarios ready for the prevention and fight against the pandemic when following Directive 16, which emphasises the focus of testing of patients and others to detect possible infections as early as possible.
We urge cities and provinces to increase testing capacity and change their testing strategy and methods using quick antigen tests to screen and detect community-transmitted infections, so that we can soon separate them from the community to reduce transmissions.
Regarding treatment, three layers of treatment should be applied. COVID-19 patients without symptoms are to be treated at health facilities at an average level.
COVID-19 patients with symptoms, and those with risks of developing serious ones, are to be treated at district-level health facilities and higher level ones.
Those with serious developments and in danger are to be treated in intensive care centres.
The MoH has furthermore requested units under the ministry in cities and provinces to establish treatment centres for infections with dangerous health conditions to support them.
How does the MoH ensure that medical devices and materials are sufficient for the situation?
Over the past few days, the ministry has actively made preparations for medical devices and materials, as well as other supplies, for the prevention and the fight against the global health crisis. On July 17, the MoH established a field warehouse and a storage for medical devices and materials in Ho Chi Minh City.
The ministry also assigned its standing units in Ho Chi Minh City to be responsible for supplying medical devices and materials there and for the surrounding cities and provinces.
The MoH plans to add 2,000 high-functional and normal respiratory devices to the Ho Chi Minh City field warehouse to ensure sufficient supply for the fight.
The ministry is also calling for different sources to increase supplies for the prevention and fight in the region.
We believe that we are able to ensure sufficient medical supplies for the pandemic prevention and fight in the south and other regions nationwide.
What recommendations does the ministry have for cities and provinces to successfully implement Directive 16?
One of the basic principles of Directive 16 is the quarantine of people, no matter if in houses, streets, communes, or districts.
The important thing we recommend is that the locals should stay at home and only go out when really necessary, in addition to limiting any outside contact and to not gather outside of offices, hospitals, and schools. Working online is recommended, as well as measures for proper distancing to ensure all prevention measures as guided. Directive 16 also notes that health facilities can operate at full capacity. We have proposed cities and provinces to follow the guidance to ensure full treatment capacity.