HCMC to extend lockdown after September 15 to quell Covid

By Trung Son   September 13, 2021 | 04:01 am PT
HCMC to extend lockdown after September 15 to quell Covid
An area in HCMC's downtown is deserted under Directive 16 social distancing order, July 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa
HCMC will continue imposing the tough Directive 16 through the second half of September, but ease the lockdown in some districts where the situation is stable.

The government had said last month it wanted HCMC to control the outbreak by Sept. 15, and the city has achieved several positive results but is yet to meet all the targets set by the Health Ministry, Phan Van Mai, the city's chairman, said at a press meet Monday afternoon.

Mai said the city will ease restrictions step by step to balance between fighting the pandemic and sustaining essential social activities.

Areas that have controlled the pandemic well such as Districts 5, 7, 11, Can Gio, Cu Chi, Nha Be and Phu Nhuan can adopt less stringent measures, he said, without elaborating.

Directive 16 requires people to stay at home and only go out for basic necessities like buying food or medicines or to work at places that are allowed to open.

Mai said that by the end of this month, the city will focus on speeding up vaccination, consolidating its treatment capacity and preparing a more detailed plan for economy recovery, including opening up more services including transport, logistics, finance and banking.

Around 6.5 million people in the city, or more than 90 percent of its adult population, have received one vaccine shot, and 1.3 million, or 19 percent, have been fully vaccinated, he said.

Nguyen Van Nen, the city Party secretary, said Sunday that controlling the outbreak by September 15 is unlikely and the city would need "more time."

Only some areas have brought the pandemic under control, he said.

With the contagious Delta variant, it is difficult to pursue the Covid-zero strategy within a specific period of time in HCMC, he said.

The city is the epicenter of the fourth Covid-19 wave to hit in late April, recording more than 303,000 cases and 12,088 deaths.

It has gone through various levels of social distancing since May and is currently under the most stringent, which requires everyone to stay at home until Sept. 15.

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