| 14 April 2024, Sunday |

Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City extends coronavirus lockdown

Vietnam’s health ministry announced on Friday that a stringent lockdown in Ho Chi Minh City will be extended until August 1 as the Southeast Asian country confronts one of its most challenging and unpredictable COVID-19 outbreaks to date.

After effectively suppressing the virus for much of the pandemic, Vietnam has been dealing with a difficult breakout of the virus, with the majority of new infections occurring in the southern business hub of Ho Chi Minh City and adjacent regions.

“Due to the quick and unexpected character of the Delta variety, city authorities have chosen to enhance a number of measures to manage the outbreak in order to safeguard people and limit casualties,” Ho Chi Minh City’s governing body said in a statement.

According to the health ministry, the number of services permitted to function during the lockdown will be restricted, as reported by Duong Anh Duc, deputy chairman of Ho Chi Minh City.

The present measures include a stay-at-home order, a ban on meetings of more than two individuals, and the suspension of public transportation services, which have been in effect since July 9.

Banking and securities services in the city will be reduced to minimal levels, while unnecessary construction projects will be suspended, the ministry said in a statement.

A week-long disinfection spray in high-risk COVID-19 areas also has started, it added.

Since late April, when the current outbreak began, Vietnam has imposed restrictions on movement in about one third of its 63 cities and provinces, including in the capital Hanoi.

The Ministry of Health reported a record 7,307 cases on Friday, raising Vietnam’s overall caseload to 81,678, with 370 deaths.

Ho Chi Minh City accounts for around 60% of total cases.

City authorities have asked Vietnam’s prime minister for more personnel to help combat the current outbreak, the health ministry said in a Facebook post on Friday.

Vietnam is attempting to speed up its vaccination program, which has mainly depended on AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.

On Friday, the country got 1.2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the country’s largest supply to date. Official data showed that 4.4 million doses were administered in the country, but only 335,000 persons were fully vaccinated.

  • Reuters