Ho Chi Minh City is still topping Vietnam’s COVID-19 cases, accounting for 258,536 or 48.5% of the 532,490 national patient tally.
Consistently hitting four-digit cases daily, the HCMC authorities plan to relax social distancing restrictions after September 15.
At a press conference on Sunday, the secretary of the city's Party Committee Nguyen Van Nen said, “Based on the current pandemic situation, we can neither have zero community cases nor strict lockdown measures forever. The city must gradually open up the economy and find ways to live safely with the virus.”
The secretary added that the city would focus on getting life back to normal as soon as possible but no sooner than September 15, stressing that this would be done safely and effectively. “We have to live with the virus as we have to live with floods. It is important to know how to swim and have a life jacket to ensure safety.”
For this to happen, the city will provide vaccines and medicine to its residents and educate as many people as possible to raise awareness.
“The city will resume its dual goal of fighting the pandemic while ensuring socio-economic development as soon as it can,” Nen assured the community. HCMC is developing an economic recovery plan based on science and insights from other countries. City officials have assigned a team of scientists, doctors, sociologists and psychologists to study all related issues in order to be able to safely live with the virus.
According to the Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, the said plan will begin as a pilot program that will allow the gradual opening of business sectors in District 7 and Cu Chi, the two areas that have so far contained the outbreak.
Hanoi ramps up vaccination program
While the business capital of the country receives the most attention now, the capital continues to do its part in taking down the unseen enemy.
Unlike HCMC, social distancing measures in some parts of Hanoi have been eased. As a result, people who have been vaccinated are questioning the possibilities for travel and work.
Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Dinh Tien Dung told the local media on Monday that the city had asked for detailed guidelines from the Ministry of Health on the issue.
As of September 4, the MoH has allocated over 2.9 million vaccine doses in the capital but so far, it has only received 2.4 million doses.
“The city is planning to ramp up the vaccination in the last three months of this year when it is possibly allocated with a higher amount of vaccines,” Dung said, adding that the city’s vaccination capacity could be heightened.
Health authorities and agencies in Hanoi were asked to make sufficient preparation for COVID-19 vaccination in the city so the process could be organized safely, effectively and timely, the secretary further expressed that starting September 6 until September 21, the city is ramping up the testing.
People in locked-down areas or quarantine areas in “very high-risk zones” (red zones) will be tested every two or three days. Those who live in “high-risk zones” (orange zones) will be tested every five to seven days. While families living in COVID-19 free areas (green zones) will have one or two members tested regularly as a way to protect the zones from coronavirus.
“As the COVID-19 vaccination rate in Hanoi is still low, it’s a must for people to strictly implement preventive measures, particularly social distancing orders in high-risk areas,” Dung said.
The capital city has asked for more vaccines to be allocated by the middle of this month so they can increase its vaccination rate.
Today’s COVID-19 cases
Vietnam’s MoH reported 12,481 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, with HCMC still leading at 7,122, followed by Binh Duong (2,194), Dong Nai (871), Long An (857).
Other cases were detected in Tien Giang (234), Kien Giang (201), Tay Ninh (134), Khanh Hoa (97), Dong Thap (95), An Giang (87), Dak Lak (79), Can Tho (70), Da Nang (63), Binh Thuan (48), Ha Noi (42), Phu Yen (34), Quang Ngai (31), Binh Phuoc (28), Ba Ria-Vung Tau (22), Quang Binh (21), Tra Vinh (20), Thua Thien-Hue (14), Gia Lai (13), Soc Trang (13), Nghe An (12), Thanh Hoa (11), Ca Mau (10), Binh Dinh (9), Vinh Long (9), Bac Lieu (9), Bac Ninh (7), Lam Dong (4), Ben Tre (4), Ninh Thuan (3), Dak Nong (3), Son La (2), Quang Nam (2), Kon Tum (1), and Bac Giang (1).
MoH also reported 9,730 new recoveries for the past 24 hours, taking the total number of recovered cases to 301,457.
However, 331 fatalities were added to the list, bringing the death toll to 13,385, which is 2.5% of the national caseload.
As of latest, Vietnam has received 33 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, of which 22,012,123 doses have been administered, with 3,338,783 people fully vaccinated.