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Private hospitals urged to stay alert to COVID-19

Private medical establishments should stay alert to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the country has entered the second phase of disease prevention and control, said an official from the Ministry of Health (MoH).

“The most important thing for private hospitals now is to early detect, promptly quarantine and transfer COVID-19 cases to concentrated treatment facilities,” said the Associate Professor, Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the MoH’s Department of Medical Examination and Treatment, at a March 9 training session for over 200 officials from private general clinics and hospitals in Hanoi on how to prevent and control the disease.  

At present, in Hanoi, coronavirus patients are treated at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Kim Chung commune, Dong Anh district to avoid infection in the inner city.

He urged private hospitals and their health workers to strictly follow the regulations of the MoH, not discriminate and refuse to treat COVID-19 patients, and only access official news sources provided by the MoH and the municipal Health Department.

Earlier, on March 8, the Ministry of Health told private hospitals in HCM City to screen any patient suspected of contracting COVID-19.

During an inspection, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son said the hospitals had properly set up areas for screening and isolation, and were measuring body temperature, disinfecting hands, and distributing medical masks for people visiting them.

If patients have symptoms of cough, fever and difficulty in breathing, they are asked about their history of travelling. If they have travelled to countries and areas where COVID-19 has broken out, they will be sent to the hospitals’ isolated areas.

The private hospitals will then contact the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases to receive assistance in diagnosis. They will also have to report these patients to the city's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

During the inspection, Son checked medical supplies at the hospitals and inquired about the criteria they were using to test suspected cases. 

He instructed private hospitals to limit the use of air conditioners and open doors at least twice a day for air ventilation.

On February 26, the ministry ordered health departments in the country to strengthen management and early detection of suspected cases at private hospitals and health clinics.

Missed cases at these facilities could be dangerous for the community, Son said.

He ordered private hospitals to change their process of patient admission and treatment to reduce the number of health officials who have direct contact with patients.

Hong Ngoc Hospital in Hanoi received the 17th COVID-19 patient and quarantined 17 health workers who had direct contact with the patient.

The ministry has issued an action plan on the Government's COVID-19 response with four levels, including the highest level when the disease spreads widely in the community. Provinces and cities have prepared to set up hospitals for quarantining coronavirus patients./