On Sunday, as HCM City announced its plan to extend strict lockdown for another month until September 15, hundreds of migrant workers have packed their bags and personal belongings and rushed to the city's gateways
in a bid to leave for their hometowns in the surrounding provinces of Dong Nai, Binh Thuan, and some central provinces.
Migrant workers on their motorbikes with heavy baggage on Sunday crowd at a checkpoint in HCM City intending to return home as the southern city announces extension of lockdown measures.
Using loudspeakers, police officers at the checkpoints on National Road No 1 struggled to prevent them from leaving the city, urging them not to congregate and telling people to remain where they stay as per the Government's order. The law enforcement and local authorities took note of their information and address to provide support later.
By Sunday noon, many remained at the checkpoints, refusing to return to the places they have been staying in HCM City.
One man named Hoang from Phu Yen Province told Vietnam News Agency his family has been unemployed due to the outbreak and lockdown measures but has not received any financial support, while the rent and daily expenses have become too much of a burden. He knows he is not supposed to leave on his own personal vehicle out of the city but he has no option.
His story is shared by many others waiting anxiously to return home, afraid they might not be able to go on.
Law enforcement set up barriers on National Road No.1.
Many provinces have organised 'repatriation' trips (by trains and airplanes) and subsequent centralised quarantine facilities for their people in recent days as the outbreak situation in the southern city worsens, but many others remain behind.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in the decision issued late July on extension of lockdown across 19 southern cities and provinces has asked local authorities to guarantee livelihoods and healthcare of people so they could remain where they are.
Source: Vietnam News
In HCM City, gateway roads were quiet on August 2. There were no more images of “motorbike caravans” with up to hundreds of people leaving the city to go to their hometown.
HCM City has called for local residents to "stay where one is" and people from other provinces to stay in the city where they will be fully taken care of, including vaccinations against Covid-19.