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HCMC outbreak designated ‘high-risk’

By Huu Cong   October 16, 2021 | 12:23 am PT
HCMC outbreak designated ‘high-risk’
People scan the QR code to get into the Nguyen Van Binh Book Street in HCMC's District 1. October 9, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
In line with government criteria on vaccine coverage and community infection rates, HCMC is now an ‘orange’ zone, interpreted as ‘high risk’.

The government’s Directive 128 on evaluating the pandemic level in each locality comprises two criteria: the proportion of people aged 18 and more getting vaccinated, and the number of new cases per 100,000 people in a week.

Based on those measurement tools, the government designates infected areas into red, orange, yellow and green, meaning ‘very high risk’, ‘high’, ‘medium risk’, and ‘low risk.’

For now, Ho Chi Minh City remains at high-risk level, Tang Chi Thuong, director of the municipal Health Department said Friday.

"HCMC has had more than 98 percent of adults vaccinated with the first shot, with the number of new community cases in the city currently at 150 per 100,000."

The target is to gradually bring the city to the level of medium-risk areas, or the yellow zone, he added.

The number of new cases recorded daily in the city has dropped continuously since Oct. 10 and declined sharply compared to August and September, while the number of Covid-19 discharges has for weeks been higher than that of hospitalizations.

Currently, there are around 500 severe patients that need ventilators in the city compared to more than 1,000 previously, the city’s top health official confirmed.

However, he warned people should not let their guard down since the pandemic situation could change in the course of a day.

"Everybody should continue to follow all Health Ministry protocols on Covid-19 prevention, wearing masks and keeping a distance, while all agencies and units comply with the ministry’s Covid-19 safety code."

The city "has yet to enter the new-normal phase after basically putting the outbreak under control, moving from the 'very high-risk' to 'high-risk' level," Thuong stressed.

Only when the Covid-19 situation is better controlled, with all people strictly following all prevention rules and fully vaccinated with two shots, could the city progress to lower levels of risk, gradually become a "green zone", and officially enter the new normal stage, he said.

"The fact that HCMC has shifted from a red to orange zone means people need to remain vigilant and help raise awareness," he added.

The southern metropolis is the epicenter of Vietnam’s latest Covid-19 wave that started in late April.

It had undergone various levels of social distancing for around four months before relaxing restrictions on Oct. 1.

So far in the wave, the city has recorded 415,875 cases, or nearly half the national tally. Of the patients, over 16,000 have lost their lives, as confirmed by the Health Ministry.

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