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Back Stories » Saigon » Saigon to Boost Covid-19 Testing to 100,000 Samples Daily Amid Worsening Outbreak

Amid the increasingly serious COVID-19 outbreak in Saigon, city officials have announced plans to conduct virus testing on an unprecedented scale.

VnExpress reports that city chairman Nguyễn Thành Phong outlined a robust testing plan during an emergency government meeting on Sunday. Initially, testing will be concentrated on all members of the Revival Ekklesia Mission, a religious group at the center of Saigon's case surge, as well as people who worked on the elections held on May 23.

Additionally, every worker at 17 export processing zones, industrial parks and high-tech zones will be tested. This covers 280,000 workers and 3,000 foreign experts.

Nguyễn Tấn Bỉnh, director of the municipal Department of Health, told the news source that testing capacity is expected to be expanded to 100,000 samples per day, up from the current 50,000. The city now has over 400 sampling teams at work, while another 400 students from medical universities will be mobbilized to assist with testing.

While some previous news reports have suggested that HCMC would eventually expand testing to every resident, Nguyễn Hoài Nam, deputy director of the municipal department of health clarified with Tuoi Tre today that city health officials will only focus on high-risk wards and districts, espcially Go Vap.

Mass testing has already been underway for days, with 50,000 people in Go Vap District alone tested late last week. Over 62,000 people citywide have had contact with known COVID-19 cases, and 157 cases have been recorded in Saigon since this current surge began in late April.

Social distancing measures returned to the city overnight, with non-essential businesses shuttered and limits on public gatherings put in place.

[Photo via Tuoi Tre]