Nguyễn Huệ walking street is closed off to visitors. — VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Khu
HCM CITY — The busy streets of the southern economic centre HCM City fell silent on Monday, the first day of the two-week social distancing order in a bid to contain swelling COVID-19 case numbers.
A Vietnam News Agency reporter noted that in the morning, on otherwise busy gateways into HCM City such as Hà Nội Highway, HCM City-Long Thành-Dầu Giây (Thủ Đức City), Hoàng Văn Thụ (Tân Bình District), Trần Hưng Đạo and other downtown streets like Lê Duẩn and Đồng Khởi in District, Xô Viết Nghệ Tĩnh and Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai in Bình Thạnh District, traffic fell significantly.
Smaller streets that usually see congestion during morning rush hours have also become hushed.
Popular destinations in District 1 such as the Independence Palace, Nguyễn Huệ walking street, and Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden have closed to visitors.
Malls, restaurants, and cafes have also been shut down – with a few eateries and beverage establishment still open only to receive take-away orders.
Traditional markets and supermarkets are still open with stacked shelves, after yesterday's panic buying in Gò Vấp District, which went under a stronger lockdown including no going outside unless for essential purposes or emergencies, while local authorities have reassured residents that there will be no shortage of food and products or price increases during the lockdown period.
Today, the number of customers at markets and supermarkets have dropped, with guards frequently on patrol to remind visitors to maintain physical distance requirements and hygiene measures.
Full shelves in a supermarket in HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo Mỹ Phương
Nguyễn Thị Hồng, a resident of Ward 16 of Gò Vấp District, said she went to the market early to get food, but she didn’t find any need to stock up on too much and would go every three days or so even though she is in a heavily restricted areas – with taxis and buses not allowed to go through Gò Vấp District.
“My household has old members and children so I have to be strict with the COVID-19 prevention measures, mask wearing, hand sanitation and everything. At the market, I would not linger around long and just find what I need to buy,” Hồng told Vietnam News Agency.
Most offices and companies have been told to facilitate their employees’ working from home – cutting the number of persons present at the workplace or completely moving operations online – before the distancing measures are taken.
This is the second time the southern city has been placed under such heavy restrictions to combat COVID-19 outbreaks after a nationwide social distancing in April last year in the early days of the pandemic.
Under the current social distancing measures (prescribed in Government's Directive No.15 dated March 31, 2020), no events of 20 people in a room or gatherings of 10 people outside the workplace are allowed, non-essential services and entertainment and sport activities are halted, and people must maintain a distance of 2 metres between each other.
The city has recorded 157 cases of COVID-19 infections in the community after a cluster connected to a Christian mission in Gò Vấp District was discovered on May 27, 2021. — VNS
Thinner traffic on the usually busy Lăng Cha Cả intersection in Tân Bình District, HCM City, on Monday. — VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Khu