As of Friday evening, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health confirmed 9,180 new cases, raising the national patient tally to 255,748.
The latest patients include 30 imported cases and 9,150 domestic infections in 39 localities. The new cases were detected in Ho Chi Minh City (3,531), Binh Duong (2,816), Dong Nai (808), Long An (623), Khanh Hoa (243), Dong Thap (152), Can Tho (142), Tra Vinh (140), Ha Noi (97), Vinh Long (71), Ba Ria-Vung Tau (69), Phu Yen (64), An Giang (61), Tay Ninh (61), Da Nang (58), Thua Thien-Hue (31), Binh Thuan (28), Gia Lai (18), Dak Nong (16), Ha Tinh (15), Nghe An (14), Binh Dinh (12), Quang Ngai (10), Quang Tri (8), Kien Giang (8), Ninh Thuan (7), Dak Lak (7), Binh Phuoc (7), Bac Lieu (5), Hai Duong (4), Quang Binh (4), Thanh Hoa (4), Lang Son (4), Quang Nam (4), Hau Giang (3), Lam Dong (2), Nam Dinh (1), Hung Yen (1), and Ca Mau (1).
The MoH also announced 275 more people have died of COVID-19 complications. The country’s current death toll is now at 5,088.
Extended social distancing in HCMC
Considering the rising number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths, the epicenter of the fourth and worst wave, Ho Chi Minh City, plans to continue its social distancing measures until at least September 15.
The deputy director of the municipal Standing Party Committee Phan Van Mai said that HCMC will officially announce a specific plan to fight COVID-19 on Sunday. “The general spirit is to continue social distancing in accordance with Directive 16, and the health authorities would try to screen COVID-19 cases and perform risk assessments throughout the city until August 30.”
What’s troubling the city officials is the fact that HCMC recorded an average of 3,687 new COVID-19 cases per day for seven days since August 5, around 80% of those were detected within quarantine zones and locked down areas. In addition, the recent reports show the city’s death rate averages 241 per day.
Deputy chairman of the municipal People's Committee Duong Anh Duc said the situation remains complicated. “While the number of new infections have been decreasing or plateauing lately, that isn't sustainable, and death rates are still high.”
The Vietnamese government has set a goal for the southern metropolis to put an end to the outbreak by mid-September.
HCMC to start online classes
Despite the current situation, HCMC seems to remain positive in getting back on track, at least in its education sector. City officials plan to restart school in mid-September, two weeks behind the rest of the country.
Deputy director of the Department of Education and Training Nguyen Van Hieu announced the plan at a meeting on Thursday, saying the People’s Committee is expected to make the final decision next week.
On August 4, the Ministry of Education and Training initially issued the schedule for the new school year, with schools supposed to resume classes on August 23 for first graders and September 1 for the rest.
However, a number of schools are currently serving as quarantine areas, some for treatment, and others used for vaccination. This makes it a lot harder for the students to come back in less than a month from now.
During the meeting on Thursday, Education Minister Nguyen Kim Son said that localities can be flexible and only resume regular classes after the COVID-19 outbreak is controlled.
According to reports, at least 22 localities have announced plans for the new school year to adhere to the ministry’s timeframe, that includes Binh Duong Province, the second worst hit in the country after HCMC.
While specific and final directives have yet to be issued, students and teachers are now preparing for online classes for the first one or two months of the school year, which normally starts in mid-August after three months of summer vacation.