Ho Chi Minh City makes plans for national election in case of severe pandemic outbreak

Deputy Director of the HCMC Department of Health Nguyen Huu Hung about alternatives and safety measures to ensure disease prevention for this important election in an recent interview with SGGP newspaper.

Discussing essential methods to maintain health safety for voters in over 3,000 voting locations throughout HCMC, Deputy Director Nguyen Huu Hung said that the HCMC Health Department has considered two major situations. One of them is when the city is clear of COVID-19, and the other is when there are certain locations with COVID-19 cases.

Photo for illustration (Source: VNA)

Photo for illustration (Source: VNA)

In both cases, the chosen voting locations must be spacious, airy. They are regularly disinfected, plus three times before, during, and after the voting day. These locations use electric fans, with windows widely open. They are equipped with enough hand sanitizer, thermometer, facemasks, and health status declaration forms. There are also temporary isolation wards in the event that a suspected case is detected.

Besides observing the 5K rule (health status declaration, distance maintenance, facemask wearing, regular disinfection, and crowd avoidance), the election procedure is a one-way process, and voters must always keep a distance of 1m from one another.

The Deputy Director further explained the situation when there are COVID-19 cases in HCMC, including the places under social distance, the places under lock-down, the concentrated isolation areas, the hospitals with COVID-19 patients, and the houses having quarantined people.

Particularly, in the first two areas, voters will vote within their neighborhood in schedule. They must maintain a 2-meter distance at these voting locations. Meetings between candidates and voters must have 20 people in one room at most. State officers in charge of election tasks in these areas must wear protection clothing at all time.

When detecting a voter with symptoms of coughing or high fever, healthcare officers must take them to temporary isolation wards immediately. Both state officers and voters in these neighborhood have to monitor their own health status for at least 14 days.

Regarding the hospitals with COVID-19 patients like Cu Chi Cu Chi Hospital for Acute Respiratory Diseases, Can Gio COVID-19 Hospital, and the concentrated isolation areas of the city or at each district, there will be mobile ballot boxes and the corresponding ballot checking teams.

Each district must announce its regulated location to keep these boxes for the checking task. Healthcare officers will support or participate in the checking team, and they must wear protection clothing while in duty.

Any other hospitals having a COVID-19 patient under treatment or hotels and houses having quarantined people will wait for election officers to bring ballot boxes there to finish the voting procedure.

The senior, the sick, and the disabled who cannot come to voting locations will also wait for election officers with ballot boxes to complete their voting.

All mobile ballots boxes are then sealed and disinfected before being transported to ballot checking locations.

Lastly, Deputy Director Hung shared that on the election day, HCMC’s 115 Emergency Center assigns sufficient healthcare officers at 54 major healthcare stations throughout the city, ready for possible first aid tasks and patient transport to hospitals.

The HCMC Health Department directed that there is enough staff on duty 24/7 for emergency cases and mobile emergency teams with enough equipment and medication waiting for assignment./.


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