HCM City authorities officially refuted rumours, on Wednesday, that a complete citywide lockdown would be imposed.
Shoppers line up outside a supermarket in Binh Thanh District, HCM City, on Wednesday morning.
The rumours spread on social media, along with calls for city residents to start stockpiling food and supplies. Food scarcity and shortages were also rumoured to be imminent as well as complete ban on shopping starting July 15, 2021. Several posts also alleged that city leaders had contracted COVID-19.
The rumours drove many to rush to supermarkets and convenience stores to buy supplies, making it difficult to enforce anti-pandemic measures, including keeping two meters apart.
The commission said the city is implementing Government Directive 16, which requires it to impose stringent social distancing measures, however the rumours were false.
The commission asked residents to stay calm and check for updates on the outbreak from official, credible news sources. It reminded residents not to spread fake news.
The city’s authority will work to strictly handle those who spread false information, causing confusion among the community, it said.
They also assured residents that they were making every effort to control and prevent the further spread of the pandemic while also ensuring public security and the supply of food and essential goods to the people.
HCM City is now the biggest hotspot of COVID-19 in the country with more than 18,000 local cases since the fourth coronavirus wave hit Việt Nam in late April.
Over 1,000 cases a day have been recorded for the last several days.
Treatment Facilities Expanded
The second branch of the HCM City Oncology Hospital in District 9 has been approved to treat COVID-19 inpatients due to the rising number of infections in the city.
The facility equipped with an emergency oxygen system, ventilators and resuscitation equipment could admit up to 1,000 patients.
The Department of Health has also instructed Chợ Rẫy Hospital and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases to increase their total number of beds by more than 600 to treat the most severe COVID-19 cases.
Bình Chánh District Hospital and Gò Vấp District Hospital are already being used to treat severe COVID-19 patients.
Doctors and nurses at People’s Hospital 115, and Gia Định People’s Hospital will be able to work at the Bình Chánh and Gò Vấp hospitals to help ease pressure caused by the growing number of cases.
The city has also put five more field hospitals into use, taking the total to 24.
The fifth phase of the national vaccination drive is set to begin shortly. This phase will last two to three weeks. HCM City is expecting to get 54,990 doses of Pfizer vaccine, more than 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, and 1 million doses of Moderna vaccine.