Vietnam Imposes Stricter Curbs to Stem Virus HCMC Outbreak

Vietnam’s commercial hub will be placed under stricter virus control restrictions for 15 days from Friday as authorities seek to stem a new wave of Covid-19 infections in what’s already the nation’s worst-hit region.

The new curbs will require residents in Ho Chi Minh City to stay home, and venture out only for “essential needs” such as work, food, medicines, or urgent medical assistance, according to a note posted in the city’s press center citing Mayor Nguyen Thanh Phong. The order marks the tightening of restrictions from current measures that ban operation of schools, bars, restaurants, unofficial wet markets and most public transport.

Motorbike taxis, which were previously exempt from the curbs, will be kept off the roads for about two weeks from July 9, the order said. Mayor Phong urged citizens not to resort to panic-buying, while assuring them that the city has a sufficient supply of essentials to meet everyone’s needs.

The measures follow a call from Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Wednesday for tighter rules to stop the virus’s spread. Ho Chi Minh City, which extended social-distancing measures indefinitely on June 29, is now Vietnam’s worst-hit region, with 8,385 local infections during the latest wave, according to data from the health ministry. Vietnam reported 314 new cases Thursday morning, including 234 in Ho Chi Minh City, bringing the national total to 23,385 since the pandemic began.

Officials were ordered to check anti-virus measures at industrial parks in big cities, provinces and suspend operations of those that don’t meet the government’s safety requirements, according to the government website.

The prime minister warned that stricter measures could cause disruptions to supply chains as more factories may be temporarily closed, according to a separate post on the government’s website.

Chinh directed Ho Chi Minh City authorities to work with industrial and tech parks, export processing zones and factories to continue operations, the government website said on Thursday. He encouraged factories provide on-site accommodations for workers.

Chinh also ordered the health ministry, which said it is sending 10,000 medical workers to Ho Chi Minh City, to prioritize the city for vaccine deliveries in July.

In Hanoi, meanwhile, the city authority has ordered relevant agencies to tighten anti-virus steps and residents were asked not to gather in public in groups of more than 10. The political capital reported 16 new local virus Monday to Wednesday and faces a high risk of local transmission, according to a separate posting on the government’s website.

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