Enough consumer goods to get through social distancing period: officials

By Anh Minh, Thi Ha   March 31, 2020 | 05:39 pm PT
Enough consumer goods to get through social distancing period: officials
An employee stocks up food on the shelves of a supermarket in Ha Dong District, Hanoi on March 31, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Minh.
Vietnam has prepared enough consumer goods for a 15-day nationwide social distancing period requiring people to stay indoors and practice social distancing, officials say.

The restrictions on movement and gathering (not more than two people at a time) are being imposed starting Wednesday as the nation moves into a crucial phase of its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tran Duy Dong, director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's domestic market department, said the department has prepared plans to supply enough goods for major cities like Hanoi and HCMC for different levels of severity with the pandemic situation.

The supply plan implemented in Son Loi Commune in the northern province of Vinh Phuc could be applied to Hanoi on a larger scale should a lockdown be imposed, he said. The commune had became the Covid-19 hub in Vietnam with seven confirmed infections, prompting the lockdown in February. 

Tran Thi Phuong Lan, deputy director of Hanoi’s trade department, said local supermarket chains have increased their stock by four to six times the normal, including food, face masks and hand detergents.

"The value of goods in stock is VND174 billion ($7.3 million) and rising. This could supply the city for between 60-90 days," she said.

Most supermarket chains in the city have seen online sales surge three to four times, and they could employ more delivery people if demand rises, she added.

The HCMC trade department has also prepared for different pandemic scenarios. Local retailers could increase their stock by two times that of a normal day if needed.

Saigon Co.op, with over 200 outlets nationwide, has stocked up 40 percent more goods than average, and employees have been tasked with filling in shelves as soon as an item is sold out.

Its goods inventory in Hanoi, which has the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in the country, has gone up three times, with more goods coming from the northern province of Bac Ninh.

Lotte Mart and Mega Market Vietnam have also increased their inventory by 40-50 percent as demand rises.

Vietnam has recorded 212 Covid-19 cases so far, of whom 58 have recovered and been discharged.

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