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Vietnam’s largest city to impose social distancing as COVID-19 cases skyrocket

Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam, will take stronger measures to control the COVID-19 outbreak as soon as a social distancing order is due to come into effect as of 00.00hrs on May 31.

A residential area in Go Vap district has been cordoned off after positive cases were detected.

A residential area in Go Vap district has been cordoned off after positive cases were detected.

Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of the municipal administration, said he will soon sign a decision to impose the order following a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the city, mostly linked to the outbreak at the Revival Ekklesia Mission Vietnam, a Christian sect based in Go Vap district.

More than 100 cases have been confirmed since the first case was detected at the religious sect on May 26.

Phong said Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had phone him on May 30 morning, requesting the city to carrying out an extensive testing campaign, along with other measures including swift contact tracing and quarantine.

HCM City has banned non-essential services for several days, but Phong demanded stronger measures, including banning gatherings of more than five people instead of 10 in public places as prescribed in the Government’s Decree 15 when social distancing is imposed.

Go Vap district, which is home to the Revival Ekklesia Mission Vietnam, will be put into lockdown as of 00.00hrs on May 31, and the order will last 15 days.

The local police on May 30 decided to prosecute the sect for “spreading dangerous infectious diseases to people.”

Experts fear the number of COVID-19 cases associated with the religious sect would increase considerably in the coming days, as positive cases had previously fanned out to many locations, including HCM City’s neighbouring localities. In addition, many have yet to show up for compulsory health declaration.

According to the local investigation agency, this religious sect operates without complying with COVID-19 prevention and control regulations, leading to the spread of the disease to many people.


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