More Covid community cases than in locked-down areas: HCMC leader

By Huu Cong   August 16, 2021 | 10:11 pm PT
More Covid community cases than in locked-down areas: HCMC leader
Motorbikes crowd the Rach Chiec overpass on the Hanoi Highway, the main route of HCMC's eastern entrance, at 5:30 p.m. on August 12, 2021, just half an hour before people are banned from going out under night time restrictions. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Ho Chi Minh City has been finding larger numbers of coronavirus infections in the community than in fully locked-down areas, its chairman, Nguyen Thanh Phong, said on Monday.

Previously cases in blockaded areas accounted for 80 percent of the daily tally.

But of the 3,341 new cases Monday, "the number of cases found in the community accounted for 53 percent, more than in areas under lockdown," Phong said while speaking at a meeting on implementing urgent measures to prevent and control Covid-19 in the area.

"Whether the outbreak can be contained... depends greatly on strictly keeping distance between people.

"Once that distance is controlled, it will [help] cut off the source of infection."

He ordered district authorities to maintain strict vigil to ensure people stay at home and only go out for essential purposes.

The ratio of new Covid-19 cases detected in the community recently is highest in District 1, the heart of the city, he noted.

"The Departments of Information and Communications and Transport must tally the number of vehicles on the road and report daily. Districts have to make action plans for each day and use any possible advantage to bring the outbreak under control."

For over a month now HCMC has been the epicenter of the ongoing Covid-19 wave that began in late April.

It has had 152,627 cases and 4,912 deaths so far.

City Party chief Nguyen Van Nen said at the meeting that the pandemic situation in the city is now "very serious" and district authorities' responsibility is "great."

Saying the outbreak has lasted for months and the city now has 30 days left to fight this battle, he exhorted district authorities and related agencies to "try our best to overcome this together."

The city of 13 million last Sunday extended social distancing under Directive 16 by another month until September 15 after already completing a month.

It requires people to stay home and only go out for necessities like buying food or medicines or to work at factories or businesses allowed to operate.

The city said it plans to contain the pandemic in two phases.

In the first phase, between August 15 and 31, it will seek to reduce the death rate, increase the infection-free areas and bring the outbreak under control in districts Can Gio, Nha Be, Cu Chi, Phu Nhuan, 5, 7, and 11.

In the second, from September 1 to 15, it will strive to reduce the death rate among critically ill patients by 20 percent, and to ensure that the number of daily new hospitalizations do not exceed the number of discharged people.

It will seek to keep the number of new hospitalizations at less than 2,000 a day, give the first dose of the Covid vaccine to 70 percent of the population aged over 18 and fully vaccinate 15 percent.

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