After HCM City, Vietnam’s largest pandemic hotspot, eight provinces in southern Vietnam, which have imposed social distancing, have asked local people not to go out after 6pm.
These provinces include Ben Tre, Tien Giang, Vinh Long, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Bac Lieu and Hau Giang. Ben Tre province has also set the time for people to go to the market.
In Ben Tre province, as of July 28, local people are not allowed to go out (except for emergency cases, buying medicine for treatment, performing official duties, transporting essential goods and other urgent matters) from 6pm to 5am the next day. The time frame for going to the market is from 6am to 10am and 2pm to 5pm daily. Relevant agencies in the local political system and mass organizations can buy essential goods and food for people to help them minimize travelling.
In Tien Giang and Dong Nai province, from July 28 to August 1, local residents are not allowed to go out from 6pm to 6am, except for special cases.
Similarly, the authorities of Bac Lieu, Vinh Long, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, and Hau Giang provinces asked people not to go out from 6pm to 5am or 6am the next day, starting from July 28.
In Cao Lanh City of Dong Thap Province, all shops, supermarkets and groceries selling essential goods were asked to close from 6pm, starting from July 27.
In these provinces, vehicles from other provinces that must pass through cities and provinces on national highways must not stop in those areas, under regulations of the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Health.
The southern provinces will also issue a paper that allows each household to buy food and essential items on even or odd days under various time frames in order to avoid gatherings in food stores or groceries.
On July 27, Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen urged southern provinces to tighten prevention measures to curb the spread of the virus amid the worsening COVID-19 situation. He said that the number of cases is expected to continue to rise even after social distancing.
In Soc Trang Province, as of July 27 the number of infections had increased to 144 from the first case in July 4.
An Giang Province had recorded 175 cases as of July 27 with more than 110 cases recorded within the past three days.
Tien Giang Province has recorded more than 2,052 cases since June 5, with 32 deaths and 231 people having recovered. All 11 districts and towns in the province have detected cases. The province has recorded 200 cases a day recently, up from 30 cases a day in early June.
Ben Tre has detected 585 cases since July 3 with eight out of nine districts and towns in the province detecting cases.
The provinces, most of which have used half of the centralised quarantine bed capacity, will need to expand these facilities to meet an increase in cases.
Tien Giang is the only province that has allowed F1 cases (close contacts of covid patients) to isolate at home, with more than 1,300 F1 cases isolating at home now, according to the provincial authorities.
Many southern localities propose extending social distancing for one, two weeks
Many southern localities have proposed the Prime Minister allow an extension of the imposition of social distancing under the PM's Directive 16 for one or two weeks to better curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at a meeting on July 28 with Deputy Prime Minister and head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control Vu Duc Dam, representatives from southern localities also suggested the central level provide medical support to improve the quarantine and treatment capacity when a large number of people return home from pandemic-hit areas.
Senior Lieutenant General Vo Minh Luong, Deputy Defence Minister and head of the Government’s Special Working Group, said that the implementation of social distancing regulations in some localities has not been strict enough, with the movement of people, especially from dusk till dawn, not been monitored effectively.
Deputy PM Dam said that the pandemic has spread widely, particularly in Ho Chi Minh City, parts of Long An, Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces.
Recently, the ministries, sectors and the Government’s special working group visited Ho Chi Minh City and agreed on a pandemic prevention adjustment plan to suit the new situation in the southern economic hub in order to achieve the goal of reducing the numbers of positive patients, those with critical conditions, and fatalities.
To that end, it is necessary to synchronise, maximise the use of treatment facilities at different levels, and focus all resources on the frontline of the fight against the pandemic, stated Dam.
Requiring the stricter implementation of Directive 16, the Deputy PM also stressed the importance of ensuring the circulation of essential goods to serve locals.
He also asked ministries, sectors and localities to coordinate closely in the repatriation of people from pandemic-hit areas to ensure absolute safety./.
How to organize social distancing while still ensuring uninterrupted production and goods circulation is uppermost in agencies' thoughts.
Starting Monday, residents of HCM City will no longer be allowed to go outside and all activities except medical emergencies or COVID-19 coordination efforts, will be banned from 6pm until 6am the following day.