Chaos ensues at HCMC market Covid test site

By Quynh Tran, Ha An   July 6, 2021 | 05:00 pm GMT+7
Thousands of people gathered at the Binh Dien market to test for Covid-19, neglecting social distancing measures due to the sheer number of those present.
Chaos ensues at HCMC market Covid test site

On Monday, around 2,000 merchants of the Binh Dien market in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 8 flocked to be tested for Covid-19.

The mass testing was organized after the market became a major coronavirus hotspot, recording dozens of Covid-19 cases. As of Tuesday morning, the market has been closed down to prevent further infections.

Phan Thanh Tan, director of the market's management board, said the board had cooperated with authorities to test every merchant and vendor entering and exiting the market from 4 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day. Only those who test negative for the coronavirus within the last four days are allowed to leave.

"Mass testing helps the market to screen for infections, ensuring safety," he said, adding the activity would last two weeks, with two testing sessions each week.

Chaos ensues at HCMC market Covid test site

Personnel of the market's management board reminded people to maintain order and stay away from each other, but due to the sheer number of those involved, large gatherings were unavoidable.

Chaos ensues at HCMC market Covid test site

A medical worker takes swab samples from a woman to test for Covid-19. As of 3 p.m. Monday, around 2,000 people have been tested.

Chaos ensues at HCMC market Covid test site

At 3 p.m., people got their test results back via announcements.

"Medical personnel on-site were too few to ensure people kept their distance," according to a medic at the scene.

Chaos ensues at HCMC market Covid test site

At a market gate, hundreds of merchants wait for their test results. Most wear masks, though many failed to apply appropriate distancing.

Chaos ensues at HCMC market Covid test site

Tien Ba, a merchant, said all the waiting made him tired.

"Everyone wants to get the paper to prove they tested negative so they could function as usual in the market, which led to all these crowds. I'm worried of being infected sitting in this crowd, but I would not be able to sell things without that paper," he said.

Chaos ensues at HCMC market Covid test site

People are handed papers containing their test results. Due to the sheer number of people present, many left the scene having given up on waiting.

Chaos ensues at HCMC market Covid test site

A man hands a test result paper to a merchant.

Chaos ensues at HCMC market Covid test site

Sen, a merchant, holds up the paper that declares her negative for the coronavirus.

"Next time I would test for Covid-19 somewhere else. It might be a bit more costly, but it's quick and safe," she said.

These papers would expire within four days, according to the market management board.

Chaos ensues at HCMC market Covid test site

Those who test positive for the coronavirus would be transferred to a temporary quarantine zone, and would be tested once more with RT-PCR for confirmation.

Chaos ensues at HCMC market Covid test site

By 5 p.m., many still await their test results outside.

Chaos ensues at HCMC market Covid test site

The Binh Dien market, spanning 30 hectares, is HCMC's largest wholesale market, selling a range of agricultural and aquatic products. It provides 70 percent of all fresh food for HCMC.

 
 
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