HCMC imposes two-week social distancing

By Manh Tung, Huu Cong   May 29, 2021 | 09:29 pm PT
HCMC imposes two-week social distancing
An area around the Saigon Opera House is almost empty amid complicated Covid-19 developments in HCMC, May 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Ho Chi Minh City's chairman has ordered social distancing measures to be imposed across the city for at least two weeks starting Monday, amid rising Covid-19 infections.

Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong said at a meeting Sunday that strict measures are needed as a religious mission cluster in the city has kept getting bigger. The city has recorded 126 patients linked to the cluster since Wednesday, although 33 of them have not been confirmed by the Health Ministry.

The city is going to impose social distancing measures following the government's Directive 16 in Go Vap District, where the mission is based, and District 12's Thanh Loc Ward. A large number of infections have been recorded in these areas. The rest of the city will follow instructions from Directive 15.

Directive 15 requires suspension to social events, bans gatherings of 20 people or more in one place and of 10 people or more outside workplaces, schools and hospitals. A minimum distance of two meters between people in public places should be ensured.

Directive 16 imposes stricter measures. It does not allow gatherings of more than two people in public and asks people to only leave home for emergencies, buying food and medicine, and working in factories, production facilities and businesses that involve "essential" goods and services.

Go Vap, with a total area of 19.7 square kilometers, is the second most populated district in HCMC after Binh Tan with a population of over 676,000 people. Nearby District 12 has a total population of more than 620,000 people, including nearly 42,000 in Thanh Loc Ward.

Nguyen Van Nen, Party Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City, said: "The city must accept the social distancing measure for long-term protection. The two weeks period can be quite long, but there is no other solution. We need to take into account possible worse scenarios for the city."

This is the second time HCMC, the country's largest city with 13 million residents, imposes citywide social distancing, with the first time in April last year when it followed a national order.

Vietnam's latest Covid-19 wave has seen 3,893 infections over the past month with the outbreak hitting 34 cities and provinces, including 108 confirmed cases in HCMC.

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