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Returnees to HCM City must submit ‘honest’ health declaration forms

Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Health has told people who have returned to the city from other provinces and cities in the past 14 days to complete ‘honest’ health declarations amid the unpredictable COVID-19 situation across the country.

Employees are expected to complete health declarations at their workplace if they travelled to other provinces and cities in the past two weeks.

People returning from localities considered hotspots as announced by the HCM City Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must notify local authorities and health units for guidance on COVID-19 surveillance and testing.

Returnees from other provinces and cities can complete health declarations on the Ministry of Health’s website

District authorities and newly established Thu Duc city, including the COVID-19 community taskforce, will supervise the health declaration activities.

As of February 17, the city’s CDC began screening people returning from hotspots, who will be put in centralised quarantine for 14 days and tested for COVID-19 four times.

According to the CDC, the city is continuing to conduct extensive screening in the community, especially at public transport areas, to assess the risk of disease.

At Tan Son Nhat International Airport, 10-20 percent of arrivals will be randomly sampled for testing. At Saigon Railway Station, 100 samples of passengers will be tested a day.

At the bus station in District 12 and the old and new Mien Dong (Eastern) bus stations, 100 passengers will be tested a day.

The CDC will adjust the number of samples needed for testing at different public transport locations, depending on the COVID-19 situation.

According to the CDC, tens of thousands of passengers are returning from provinces and cities nationwide after the holiday, posing a higher risk of infection.

The first case detected at the airport was identified as ‘patient 1979’ on February 5.

The city had recorded 36 COVID-19 cases as of February 17, including 10 cargo loading staff at Tan Son Nhat airport and 26 cases who are family members of the loading staff.

“The infection chain at Tan Son Nhat hotspot has basically been contained,” according to the CDC.

The CDC attributed the containment to the strategy of rapid testing after the sources of infection had been zoned. “This was the decisive factor that helped control the infection chain at the airport hotspot,” it said.

From February 11 to 14, a total of 9,480 samples (of which 2,939 from medical workers) were collected for testing at wholesale markets, traditional markets, bus stations, motels and areas around industrial zones, all of which tested negative for the virus.

The outbreak has basically been under control in most localities, other than the northern province of Hai Duong, the country’s main COVID-19 epicentre, said Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam at a recent meeting with officials.

Social distancing measures began in the entire Hai Duong province on February 16 as the epicentre has reported more than 500 locally transmitted cases since the outbreak began in late January./