Over the weekend, Vietnam’s COVID-19 patient tally reached a new daily high after over 9,000 cases were recorded. However today, even with the extended lockdown in Ho Chi Minh City, seems like the fourth wave is showing no signs of ending, following the Ministry of Health’s report confirming 2,708 new cases earlier today plus the 5,174 this evening, raising the national caseload to now 106,347.
According to the data released this evening by the Ministry of Health, the epicenter HCMC is still leading the patient count with 4,283, while its neighbor Binh Duong province has 326 new cases. Other local infections were recorded in Dong Nai (134), Dong Thap (116), Hanoi (81), Can Tho (36), Da Nang (34), Binh Thuan (25), Phu Yen (20), Ben Tre (18), Dak Lak (13), Tra Vinh (13), Ving Phuc (10), Binh Dinh (8 ), Quang Nam (8 ), Lam Dong (7), Ninh Thuan (7), Quang Ngai (4), Gia Lai (3), Bac Lieu (2), Nghe An (2), and each one in Tuyen Quang, Ca Mau, Hoa Binh, Dak Nong, and Thua Thien-Hue.
The latest tally includes 23 imported cases. Around 80% of all cases are either asymptomatic or mild, and around 6% require forms of breathing support like ventilators and ECMO, reads the MoH report.
As of Monday morning, Vietnam has recorded 489 COVID-19 fatalities.
Movement restriction from 6 pm to 6 am
On top of the extended lockdown until August 1, HCMC’s over 10 million residents are no longer be allowed to go outside, and all activities except medical emergencies or COVID-19 coordination efforts will be banned from 6 pm until 6 am. This new policy, which started Monday, is an unprecedented move to curb infections as Vietnam battles a rapid COVID-19 surge even after 55 days of social distancing order or more than two weeks under Directive 16.
Chairman of HCMC’s People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong announced the latest movement restriction late Sunday saying that despite the social distancing order currently in effect – which states that people must stay at home and go outside only for necessary purposes like buying food or essential items, or for medical emergencies – he still sees that direct contact remains rampant and there are still too many people traveling in the streets across the city.
HCMC’s chairman added that he called up every leader of each district and commune to immediately work with the local military and police units to assist and impose the new order.
“We all have to understand that this is very dangerous and the cause of this protracted outbreak. If we cannot control this, things will deteriorate and force the authorities to implement more stringent and heavy-handed measures. The impact would be significant on several fronts,” the chairman told the local media.
However, the city's official insisted that the latest measure is not a "curfew.”
With this added restriction, all supermarkets and convenience stores in the southern metropolis will have to close at 5 pm.
Retail chains like VinMart and Co.op Mart will operate from 7 am to 5 pm instead of until 10 pm. Big C outlets, as well as Aeon Malls and Mega Market, will also operate from 7 am to 5 pm.