31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
Aug 23, 2021 / 21:50

Today’s Covid News: Vietnam’s Defence Minister flies to HCM City for pandemic fight

Vietnam’s National Defence Minister said it’s necessary to stamp out the virus as the months-long pandemic has made people tired of it.

General Phan Van Giang, Vietnam’s Minister of National Defence, today [August 23] flew to Ho Chi Minh City to monitor the pandemic fight in the city of 10 million people and its neighborhood.

 Military medics before departure from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Trong Duc/ VNA

On the same day, more than 1,000 military medics and military students also left Hanoi for the epicenter as the city began imposing the two-week shelter-in-place order from August 23.

“The army uses all available forces, including air force, land transport, and water transportation, to supply food and other essential necessities to people and ensure safe isolation in the fight against Covid-19,” VnExpress cited him before the departure.

The military medics will take care of testing, vaccination, treatment of Covid-19 patients at home, primary health care, common diseases, and other missions when required in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and its neighboring provinces of Binh Duong, Long An, and Dong Nai – the hardest-hit by Covid-19.

According to Giang, in support of HCMC, the army will take part in building makeshift hospitals, strengthening patrols to ensure that people do not go out; providing medical supplies and vaccination; and offering funeral rituals to people who died of Covid-19.

He also shared that the army will produce 5,000 tons of field ration and transport them to HCMC by helicopter.

“Months-long pandemic has made us tired of it. Without determination, the economy will go down. It’s time for us to try even more. I know it’s harder for residents in the affected areas,” Tuoi Tre quoted Giang.

Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh flew together with Giang. So far, two out of four Deputy PMs are in HCMC for the pandemic fight.

Supporting wanderers as lockdown tightened

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam urged HCMC authorities to offer accommodation and food to vagabonds, helping them overcome such a difficult time as well as avoiding the risk of being exposed to coronavirus.

“It needs to make sure that no single resident unsupported with food, necessities, especially medical care when needed,” Dam told local authorities today, stressing the importance of testing those people.

Sen. Lt. Gen. Vo Minh Luong, deputy minister of National Defence, suggested that the local government needs to gather the wanderers to accommodate them in barracks and send those who test positive for the virus to quarantine centers.

Ho Chi Minh City

Today, the largest city began the two-week shelter-in-place order with the deployment of armed forces to enforce the safety rules.

Military personnel and police sent from Hanoi present at 12 entrances and 251 Covid-19 checkpoints citywide, not to mention hundreds of roadblocks monitored by local policemen and militia.

Together with deploying at the checkpoints, the armed forces conduct patrols across the city all day night.

With the presence of the military, the enforcement becomes strong as fewer people break the movement restrictions on the first day of the period.

At the same time, military medics offer healthcare and treatment to those in quarantine and medical facilities.

Notably, the military also joined the distribution of food to vulnerable people. Local authorities said they will offer two million welfare packages to people in need. Each package includes five kg of rice and food. In addition, each family having confirmed cases treated at home will receive a medicine bag.

In another move, HCMC launched testing and vaccinating at home. As the movement restrictions are imposed, health workers will provide the services to confirmed and suspected people in their homes.

“It is very important to offer testing at home or let residents take samples themselves. The method, which requires a team of supervisors and volunteers, helps save medical resources. Besides, the move will also ensure safety during the large-scale testing unlike,” according to Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son.

 Health workers and students in Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi leave for HCMC on August 23. Photo: Khanh Huy/ The Hanoi Times

Hanoi

Today, Hanoi has undergone a month of partial lockdown and it will extend the restrictions by two weeks.

To make full use of the restrictions, the local authorities will focus on massive testing to detect infections in the community and vaccination.

Hanoi today reported 40 cases (totaling 2,843) compared to thousands in the most affected areas. Some experts said imposing the partial lockdown is unnecessary for the city of few infections.

Nonetheless, Khong Minh Tuan, deputy head of the Center for Disease Control in Hanoi, said that the situation is not completely stable. If the city relaxes the restrictions, its anti-pandemic achievement will be washed away.

"If Hanoi relaxes the restrictions, it will become worse with the crowd gathering and flocks of people outside Hanoi to celebrate National Day (September 2nd)," Tuan said.

With an aim to mitigate damage to vulnerable groups, the city has launched different charity programs, including “zero dong” supermarkets. The operations of this supporting channel have led many people to stay strong during the month-long lockdown.

Daily infections

On August 23, Vietnam saw additional 10,280 cases (43% in Ho Chi Minh City and 31% in Binh Duong) and 389 deaths, bringing the total to 358,456 and 8,666, respectively.

The newest cases keep HCMC the most affected area with 180,245, followed by Binh Duong 73,425, Dong Nai 18,311, Long An 18,193, and Tien Giang 7,743.

The rising infections have prompted several areas besides HCMC to impose the shelter-in-place measure for two weeks starting from August 23 like Long An and Vinh City in Nghe An Province.

Earlier on August 16, the central city of Danang was the first in Vietnam to impose such an order for 10 days.

In August, T&T Group, a Hanoi-based multisectoral company with offices across Vietnam and Australia, offered 300,000 gifts worth a total of VND30 billion ($1.3 million) to vulnerable people in HCMC.

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