VOV.VN - There exists a high chance that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will spread among local people in the capital city after the discovery of new cases of the virus over the past few days, municipal health authorities have warned.
The warning comes after it emerged that health professionals have been unable to trace the source of infection of a Hanoi resident who tested positive for the COVID-19 on April 5.
|Hanoi authorities have asked for preventive measures to be intensified to stop the virus spreading to the community
Test results indicate that the patient did not have the antibodies necessary to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19, forcing epidemiologists into making further quantitative antibody tests in order to determine when the patient had been first been exposed to the virus.
It is possible that the patient may not have caught the virus from the recent outbreak at Bach Mai hospital, but within the community as he had travelled to various places and visited a number hospitals, said Dr Tran Dac Phu, senior adviser to the Ministry of Health.
While admitting it is hugely challenging to trace the source of infection within the community, Dr Phu also suggested it is a must to early detect and place in quarantine those who come into contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients.
Supporting the view, Hoang Duc Hanh, vice director of the Hanoi Health Department, said given the patient’s complex travel history there can be more cases expected throughout the capital over the coming days, unless preventive measures are intensified.
At present Hanoi has tracked down approximately 26,000 cases linked to Bach Mai hospital’s recent outbreak. More than half the total had samples taken for testing, with 8,410 coming back negative and five testing positive.
Bach Mai hospital is considered to be a flashpoint for the COVID-19 in the capital with over 40 confirmed cases linked to the outbreak that originated there. Experts swiftly moved to disinfect the entire hospital and the places of residence of the patients that were found to have contracted the virus.
|Many residents in Hanoi have hit the road for the past few days, defying the government's social distancing measures
Meanwhile, many local people in Hanoi have begun to go out on to the street in recent days, defying the two-week social distancing measures introduced by the government. Some could be seen gathering in crowds, not standing two metres away from others, and failing to don face masks when in public as required.
At present, social distancing is the best solution for containing the COVID-19 pandemic, with the policy proving effective in many other countries, Hanoi Mayor Nguyen Duc Chung noted.
According to the Mayor Chung, if as few as 10% of people fail to obey the social distancing measures, the entire policy will fail.