Sep 08, 2021 / 21:23

Today’s Covid News: Vietnam, UNICEF join hands to protect children in pandemic

Health experts and psychologists said psychological therapies are as important as disease treatment for children with Covid-19.

Vietnam and UNICEF today [September 8] discussed measures to protect children during the Covid-19 outbreak that left nearly 12,000 pediatric patients and more than 27,000 others quarantined.

 Testing in Hanoi. Photo: Khanh Huy/ The Hanoi Times

They exchanged views focused on protecting and taking care of them during the pandemic and the social distancing period.

Psychological therapies are regarded as important as disease treatment, especially for those in Ho Chi Minh City where around 250 children become orphans in the ongoing outbreak.

“The worrying thing is that many children who lost their loved ones easily fall into psychological trauma,” said Dang Hoa Nam from the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs.

Deputy Representative of UNICEF Vietnam Lesley Miller said the organization appreciated the ministry’s guidance on preventing children and women from violence in quarantine and treatment facilities as well as the Ministry of Health (MoH)’s regulations on child quarantine and treatment at home.

Earlier, children who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 had to go to centralized quarantine facilities.

On August 25, MoH’s new policy allows parents to accompany their children to quarantine and treatment facilities. In addition, children aged below 16 and be first-generation contacts of index cases will be quarantined at home.


Speed up massive testing

Vietnam’s Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long today asked 23 cities and provinces, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to boost testing from now until September 15 in order to detect infections in the community.

All southern cities and provinces are also subject to the request together with the two big cities. All of them have been imposing social distancing.

Massive testing will enable local authorities to zone affected places without leaving an impact on a large area, Long said.

On September 8, Hanoi’s major Chu Ngoc Anh signed a document to test residents on large scale and boost the inoculation campaign. On the same day, about 1,000 health workers from Bac Ninh and Bac Giang came to assist the city’s vaccination.

To make the plan possible, it classifies the city into three zones safe, low risk, and high-risk. Accordingly, in high-risk and very high-risk areas, the health sector tests residents at home 2-3 times/week by both rapid antigen and RT-PCR. In the low-risk zone, testing is taken on residents at home once every 5-7 days. Meanwhile, people having symptoms like cough, fever, and shortness of breath are all subject to testing.

Hanoi has more than five million adults aged above 18. So far, it has provided the first jabs to about 40% of them.

 Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son works with HCMC's authorities on September 8. Photo: Viet Dung/ SGGP


Ho Chi Minh City

On September 8, Ho Chi Minh City’s mayor Phan Van Mai requested the government to allow private hospitals in the city to charge Covid-19 patients.

It means that private medical facilities are allowed to get money for the treatment services they offered instead of the rates stipulated by the Ministry of Health.

The low payment required by the State has left private hospitals with difficulties as their input cost is much higher than that in the public system.

Dang Van Thanh, general director of Nam Sai Gon General Hospital, said the hospital’s treatment cost is much higher than the prices stipulated by the health ministry due to higher workers’ salaries, higher device, and facility costs.

In reality, a large number of people want to be treated in private hospitals as they can afford it in the face that public medical facilities are stretched to capacity.

So far, more than 10 private hospitals have joined the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

On Sept 8, Vietnam confirms 12,680 Covid-19 cases and 335 deaths, totaling 563,676 and 14,135. Today, Ho Chi Minh City takes the lead in both infections (7,308) and deaths (268), followed by Binh Duong with 3,172 and 34, respectively.

 Coronavirus infections in Vietnam. Source: MoH. Chart: Minh Vu