16 southern localities to begin two weeks of strict social distancing

By Viet Tuan   July 17, 2021 | 01:53 am PT
16 southern localities to begin two weeks of strict social distancing
A police officer checks body temperatures of travelers at a Covid-19 checkpoint in Tien Giang Province, July 8, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Nam.
16 southern localities including the entire Mekong Delta would undergo 14-day social distancing period starting Monday amid rising numbers of coronavirus infections.

The list has Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, and 13 Mekong Delta localities: Can Tho, Tien Giang, Long An, Vinh Long, Dong Thap, Ben Tre, Hau Giang, An Giang, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang, Tra Vinh, Ca Mau and Kien Giang, according to a decision issued by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Saturday.

The social distancing period will be imposed under Directive 16 with the most stringent social distancing regulations, requiring people to stay at home and only go out for basic necessities such as buying food or medicines or to work at factories or businesses that are allowed to open.

People must keep a distance of at least two meters. No more than two people can gather at public places apart from workplaces, schools or hospitals. The majority of public transportation will be shut down and there will be no travel to other localities.

The list means the entire southern region with 19 cities and provinces, home to around 35 million people or more than a third of the country's population, will be under strict social distancing.

The other three localities, HCMC and its industrial neighbors Binh Duong and Dong Nai, have already imposed social distancing order under Directive 16. HCMC and Dong Nai began their two-week period on July 9 while Binh Duong began social distancing in certain areas on different dates since late last month.

For these three, local authorities would decide whether they would follow their own social distancing timeline or restart from Monday.

The southern region, particularly HCMC, is taking the brunt in the worst coronavirus wave to ever hit Vietnam. Cases have been rising steadily over the past few days, with HCMC recording numbers in the thousands. Not every Covid-19 cases have been contact traced successfully.

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