Jul 07, 2021 / 21:39

Ho Chi Minh City to impose partial lockdown from July 9

Ho Chi Minh City has undergone five weeks of social distancing but the circumstances continue to evolve.

Ho Chi Minh City, the southern economic hub of Vietnam, will impose a 15-day partial lockdown from July 9, the second time after the first taken in early April for 22 days.

Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong at the meeting on July 7. Photo: Tuoi Tre  

Chairman of the municipal authority Nguyen Thanh Phong made the decision at a Wednesday meeting, saying that it’s time to regard the pandemic control as a battle in which people’s health and safety are put first and foremost.

During this time, local residents need to follow stay-at-home orders, except for emergencies and the purchase of essential goods.

Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) has enacted social distancing since May 31. In the last five weeks, the most populous city has continued seeing high infections, including those of community transmission. So far, it has reported 8,151 Covid-19 cases, taking the lead nationwide in terms of confirmed cases.

Its health sector has built a scenario of treating 20,000 Covid-19 patients and prepared makeshift hospitals capacity of 12,000 beds, including a 500-bed intensive care unit (ICU).

In another move, the city has suspended the operation of three wholesales markets namely Binh Dien, Hoc Mon, and Thu Duc, and a number of wet markets. To ensure sufficient goods supply, the city has kicked off the price stabilization program with the availability of goods at reasonable prices for all. Goods will be traded online and through a network of 106 supermarkets, 124 wet markets, and more than 2,000 convenience stores.

To share the burden with the city, 14 cities and provinces in the northern and the central region have planned to support HCMC by spending frontline workers, medical equipment, and financial assistance to the hardest-hit locality.

Due to the widespread transmission in the city, the Ministry of Health on July 6 asked people from HCMC to conduct one-week home quarantine and three-time testing when traveling to the rest of the country.

Today, Hanoi started conducting tougher precautionary measures against Covid-19 after it reported 16 new cases in the past three days.

Accordingly, the city has tightened control over public gathering [no more than 10 people], residents, transportation and traveling from the affected areas, and set up Covid-19 checkpoints at the entrance gates.

 Covid-19 infections in Vietnam. Source: MoH. Chart: Minh Vu

Daily infections

Vietnam confirmed additional 997 cases on July 7, including 766 in HCMC, the highest daily infections recorded in the city in the fresh outbreak that broke out in late April.

The newest infections bring the national figure to 23,071, including 8,557 convalescents. The death toll rises to 102.

Thus far, Covid-19 has left infections in 56 out of 63 cities and provinces across Vietnam.

 A batch of 97,000 Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses arrives in Hanoi on July 7. Photo: Tran Minh

On July 7, more than 97,000 doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Vietnam, the first batch of the 31-million doses that the Vietnamese Government and Pfizer/BioNtech signed in a contract a month ago.

It’s estimated that other batches of Pfizer vaccine will arrive in Vietnam in July.

In a related move, on July 6, the US Embassy in Hanoi presented a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine and mobile lab equipment to the Military Medical Department of Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defence, according to the US Embassy in Hanoi.

The lab equipment is a part of the ongoing health cooperation between the US and Vietnam. To date, the US Government has financed over US$13 million for Vietnam’s Covid-19 response. Last September, the US donated 100 American-made ventilators to Vietnam.

Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Christopher Klein said that “working together, we can overcome the difficulties Covid-19 has imposed on all of us.” He thanked Vietnam for supplying millions of pieces of personal protective equipment to the American people last year. He committed to continue to advocate for more vaccine support for Vietnam.

 Handover ceremony of Covid-19 laboratory equipment on July 6. Photo: the US Embassy in Hanoi