Mask up or stay home: ministry
-The Ministry of Health has issued a description of the symptoms of A/H1N1 flu to white-collar workers in Ha Noi.
-In an effort to prevent an epidemic, it has advised those showing signs of the flu to wear face masks or segregate themselves at home.
-And Health Minister Nguyen Quoc Trieu said adjustments would be made to the National A/H1N1 Prevention Action Plan to reduce the risk of the disease spreading to the wider community .
-Trieu was speaking after several office buildings in Ha Noi reported positive cases of the flu.
-The ministry yesterday reported that 31 new A/H1N1 flu cases had been reported, nine in the south, 12 in the north and 10 in the Central Highlands.
-A total of 794 cases have been reported in Viet Nam so far, but none of them have been fatal. About 450 of the victims have been discharged from hospital and the rest are undergoing treatment in isolation.
-World-wide, there have been 175,785 cases, including 1,116 fatalities.
-Le Anh Tuan from the city’s Health Department said all office buildings and agencies should draw up a prevention plan and treatment measures in case the flu hit their buildings.
"If the epidemic reaches alarming levels in any building, it will be temporarily shut down," said Tuan.
-Do Le Huan, director of the Ha Noi’s Preventive Medicine Centre, said the centre would be responsible for decontaminating infected office buildings and supervising the treatment of patients.
-The most common way of protecting workers is to clean offices every day, provide face masks, soap for washing hands - and making sure health officers are prepared.
-At one of the office buildings where precautions have been taken, the Financing and Promoting Technology Corporation (FPT), many employees are voluntarily wearing face masks. Besides, the company also regularly checks the temperatures of employees and visitors.
-The head office of Vinaphone, banks, VMS-Mobiphone and others on Ha Noi’s Nguyen Chi Thanh and Tran Duy Hung streets have handed out leaflets on how to prevent an epidemic. Nguyen Thu Hong, an officer with VinaPhone, said staff were given free face masks.
-"Wearing face masks at the office does not affect my job, but protects me and others from the risk of getting this flu," said Nguyen Thanh Trang, an officer with Land Management General Department.
-All employees with Baker&McKenzie Company wear face masks. In the toilets, leaflets explain the correct procedures for washing hands.
-As fear of a possible epidemic grows, the Viet Nam Petroleum Corporation has advised its agencies to limit meetings and gatherings.
-Ha Noi Health Department has told workers in office buildings to wear face masks and regularly clean equipment, including desks, computers and telephones.
-To provide regular updates on A/H1N1 flu, the Ha Noi Telecom has a service answering all questions by
-Nguyen Trung Cap, deputy head of the National Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases’ Emergency Aid Department, said people were becoming more alert about A/H1N1 flu, but added there was no need to panic and rush to the institute for a health check.
-The number of people getting health checks at the institute has doubled to 200 per day.
-"If people who are coughing or sneezing rush to the institute, they can get infected from other atients," he said. "They should visit their local health officers for supervision and advice."
-Health experts recommend people strictly practice personal hygiene methods, such as wearing face masks, regularly washing hands, covering the mouth when sneezing - and isolation if symptoms were found.
-Health Minister Trieu said that the ministry and relevant sectors had set up a national action plan for dealing with the flu. Isolation and treatment areas will be set up at any hot spots in provincial and district hospitals across the nation.
-But now there are fears of a pandemic when winter arrives, creating favourable conditions for the spread of the virus.
-Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology Nguyen Tran Hien said yesterday that surveillance activities had been strengthened at 15 flu monitoring sites in Viet Nam.