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Vietnam religious asked to care for Covid-19 victims

Ho Chi Minh City could need up to 1,500 doctors and 5,500 nurses and technicians as the virus spreads
Vietnam religious asked to care for Covid-19 victims

Lovers of the Holy Cross of Khiet Tam nuns celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of their congregation in January in Ho Chi Minh City. Women religious are being asked to help provide healthcare in the city. (Photo courtesy of tgpsaigon.net)

Published: July 15, 2021 04:28 AM GMT
Updated: July 15, 2021 07:20 AM GMT

As Ho Chi Minh City suffers from a lack of health workers, a local priest is calling on fellow men and women religious to volunteer to provide healthcare for victims of a serious coronavirus outbreak.

Father Joseph Mary Tran Hoa Hung, who is in charge of all orders, societies and associations based in Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese, said the Archbishop's House plans to set up a group of voluntary religious to work with health workers to push back the growing contagion and assist victims who are in need. The plan came after the local health department invited religious groups to participate in the city's massive campaign against the pandemic.

Father Hung said the archdiocese's Office for Religious formally invited any religious who are not staff members at local hospitals and clinics to volunteer to assist with emergency and charity services.

The Salesian priest said religious volunteers will be tested for Covid-19, vaccinated and trained before they are sent to serve patients at massive quarantine centers.

He said volunteers will be assigned to take care of patients who have tested positive for Covid-19 but have no clinical symptoms. As they do not have professional qualifications, their simple tasks will include reminding patients to eat and sleep on time and assisting with nutritious meals.

He said volunteers could work for seven days and fulfil their daily moral duties privately at work. After that they will put themselves in quarantine for two weeks at their communities before returning to their routine.

The health department has 500 doctors and 1,500 nurses and technicians from local hospitals treating coronavirus patients

“To meet the emergency and meaningful needs, superiors are asked to send their lists of volunteers by July 14,” Father Hung said.

Tang Chi Thuong, deputy of the city’s health department, said a 1,000-bed capacity Covid-19 resuscitation center will be soon be operational. The center needs some 200 medical personnel. Medical human resources will be badly needed when the number of infections and the need for medical equipment increases rapidly.

Dr. Nguyen Thanh Tam, based at a field hospital, said the hospital has only 75 doctors and 120 nurses serving 4,500 patients without clinical symptoms. He said he is concerned that “they have no adequate time to care for and treat patients.”

The health department has 500 doctors and 1,500 nurses and technicians from local hospitals treating coronavirus patients. The city could need up to another 1,500 doctors and 5,500 nurses and technicians to treat patients in the near future, depending on the severity of the outbreak.

On July 14, Ho Chi Minh City reported 1,637 new Covid-19 infections, bringing its total to 18,210 and making it Vietnam’s largest epicenter since the fourth wave of the coronavirus broke out in late April. The new outbreak has infected 33,035 people and 100 have died in 58 out of 63 cities and provinces.

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