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13 Aug, 2021 11:49

Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City extends Covid-19 restrictions as country’s economic hub becomes national virus hotspot

Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City extends Covid-19 restrictions as country’s economic hub becomes national virus hotspot

Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s economic hub, have decided to extend Covid-19 restrictions amid soaring infections and fatalities in the country’s largest city, which is now the nation’s coronavirus hotspot.

The deputy secretary of the city’s Communist Party committee, Phan Van Mai, unveiled plans on Friday to prolong Covid-19 curbs, with the situation to be monitored until the end of August. Speaking at a conference, Mai remarked that “the epidemic is complicated, the application of social measures can be prolonged,” as per local news outlet Tuoi Tre. 

The government official added that the city’s population “must have the spirit and mentality of long-term resistance” and “prepare long-term psychologically,” acknowledging that it will take a significant amount of time to contain the coronavirus outbreak. 

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Mai said that social distancing measures were set to continue past Sunday, when restrictions were due to be lifted. Under the directive, a stay-at-home order will be implemented that can only be broken in cases of permitted work in factories or businesses, as well as for the purchasing of medicines and food. 

The extension comes as Ho Chi Minh City records the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths nationwide, making it Vietnam’s Covid-19 hotspot. Duong Anh Duc, deputy chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said the city has registered over 3,600 new infections per day on average since August 5.

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Ho Chi Minh City’s high Covid-19 mortality rate, however, is “the most pressing issue,” according to the chairman. Over 3,800 citizens have lost their lives to the coronavirus out of Vietnam’s overall death toll of 4,813. 

The Southeast Asian country had weathered earlier stages of the pandemic remarkably well, reporting barely any cases until late April this year, when the extremely contagious Delta variant seeped into Vietnam. As a result, almost a third of the country is under Covid-19 curbs, and the main bulk of its 246,568 infections have been accumulated since this spring. 

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