Saturday , September 30 2023

Vietnam updates Covid risk assessment criteria with less emphasis on case count

The Health Ministry has adjusted its coronavirus risk assessment system, with greater focus on treatment capabilities.

Vietnam is currently applying a coronavirus risk system that categorizes regions into four groups: those with low, medium, high and very high coronavirus risks. Criteria include the number of coronavirus cases within the community recorded per week, vaccination coverage and medical capabilities.

Regions with low coronavirus risks will see most Covid-19 restrictions lifted, while those with higher risks see social distancing requirements and the suspension of non-essential activities, like massage parlors, bars, clubs, movie theaters, and even on-site dining services.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Health updated the guideline on coronavirus risk assessment, this time adjusting certain criteria and making some more detailed than before.

The first criterion, which entails the number of new coronavirus cases, has three components: the rate of new infections, the rate of patients requiring oxygen support and death rates. Previously, this criterion only counted the number of new cases per week.

Additionally, it would take more new infections for a region to increase its coronavirus risk level. In accordance with the old guideline, a region with 150 new community cases per 100,000 people per week would have a very high coronavirus risk. With the new guideline, a region must have over 600 new community cases per 100,000 people per week to be graded as having a very high coronavirus risk.

The second criterion, vaccination coverage, has two components: At least 75 percent of the population must be fully vaccinated, and at least 90 percent of people vulnerable to Covid-19, for example the elderly and those with underlying conditions, must be fully vaccinated.

Previously, the rates of vaccination coverage depended on the number of adults who have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot, and the number of elderly people being fully vaccinated.

The final criterion, medical capabilities, has three components: Treatment readiness for Covid-19 patients, the number of empty beds for Covid-19 patients, and the number of ICU beds with full staff numbers to attend them.

The new guideline requires that there must be at least four ICU beds per 100,000 people for each locality. If localities don’t have enough ICU beds, their coronavirus risk would increase by one level.

A region’s coronavirus risk level would be assessed based on its infection and medical capability statistics, with heavier emphasis on treatment capabilities. For example, a region with high treatment capacity will still classify to be at low coronavirus risk despite its infection level corresponding with a medium coronavirus risk. On the other hand, a region with low treatment capacity will still classify to be at high coronavirus risk despite its infection level corresponding with medium coronavirus risk only.

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