Ho Chi Minh City, the epicenter of Vietnam’s fourth outbreak, has been showing signs of improvement in the past days, said Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, in a meeting yesterday.
Between August 4th and 10th, the southern metropolis recorded an average of 3,750 daily new cases. But 81% of these were from locked down or quarantined areas, with the rest detected at hospitals.
The infection coefficient at present was estimated at 0.78%, lower than the figures recorded in May, early July and early August with 3 to 3.5%, 1.7 to 2% and 1.2%, respectively, according to a report from the Vietnam Government Portal.
The city began to impose a 15-day social distancing period on May 31, which has been extended several times.
As of this writing, HCMC has reported 135,485 - that’s 57% of the total 237,538 cases detected since April 27, when the fourth outbreak began.
Vaccine access priority
After the national government issued a resolution demanding all localities under social distancing to contain outbreak by mid-September, Ho Chi Minh City and other southern localities Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Long An were given access priority to COVID-19 vaccines.
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said Tuesday that the heavily affected areas target to inoculate 70% of their adult population within August.
HCMC has already received nearly 4.2 million vaccine doses, and has administered 3.4 million of which.
The country is currently administering various vaccine types, including AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer and Sinopharm. More doses are expected to arrive by the end of the year, especially with some locally-made vaccines in the race.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long, however, warned on Wednesday that the current outbreak may last longer, with Vietnamese returning from pandemic-hit areas not managed or monitored properly.
The health minister advises everyone to strictly adhere to social distancing measures and other safety protocols. Those who display even mild symptoms of COVID-19 are also encouraged to report to health authorities and avoid interacting with others to reduce infection spread.
Top Vietnamese leaders are also in constant communication with their foreign counterparts to ask for more vaccine doses or allow transferring of their vaccine production technology to the country to help boost Vietnam’s vaccination drive.