HCM City set to extend social distancing measures again: officials

August 13, 2021 - 15:18

Vice chairman of Hồ Chí Minh City People’s Committee Dương Anh Đức said that the city’s Department of Health today started to administer one million doses of Vero Cell COVID-19 vaccine to its residents.


Vice chairman of HCM City People’s Committee Dương Anh Đức.

HCM CITY — HCM City is set to extend lockdown measures until September 15, the date set by the Government for the southern city to have its severe COVID-19 outbreaks under control, the city's officials have said.

“The situation is complicated and can last for a long time, the number of cases tends to decrease but the number of deaths is still high,” Vice Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee Dương Anh Đức said on Friday at the daily press briefing.

From August 5, on average, the city recorded 3,687 cases a day, of which 78.6 per cent were in locked down areas, 2.3 per cent in quarantined areas, 17.7 per cent via screening tests at hospitals. 

The city currently has 1,558 critical patients, and 16 on ECMO. As many as 10,421 are asymptomatic and being treated at home. More than 12,000 patients have been treated for more than seven days and are recovering.

“The most worrying problem is the high death rate, at about 241 deaths a day.”

Thus, the city now focuses on improving treatment efficacy, with the highest goal being reducing the number of deaths in 22 localities in the city. 

It is forecast that after August 15, the number of cases will still be around 3,000 a day.

“Therefore, if we do not drastically implement strong anti-pandemic measures, it will be difficult to maintain the results, and the situation may even get worse,” Đức said.

Phan Văn Mãi, deputy secretary of the city Party Committee, said the city would strengthen measures from August 15 to September 15, divided into two phases - from August 15 to August 31 and from August 31 to September 15.  Specific measures have been determined for each phase. 

It is expected that on August 15, the city will announce the details of the plan, with strict social distancing measures according to the Government’s Directive 16 continuing.

Sinopharm vaccine

Vice Chairman Đức said that the city’s Department of Health on Friday started to administer the batch of one million doses of Sinopharm's Vero Cell COVID-19 vaccine to its residents.

This batch of vaccines had undergone quality controls and approved by the Ministry of Health, Đức said at a press conference providing updates about anti-pandemic activities in HCM City Friday morning.

Đức said currently the supplies of COVID-19 vaccines to Việt Nam remained very limited. In August and September, about three million doses were expected to be delivered, among which the allocation to HCM City would not be sufficient since many provinces and cities were also facing similar scarcity.

Therefore, in August, in HCM City, "the best is what we have at the moment”, he said.

The city would administer vaccinations, ensuring all vaccines are qualified and licensed by WHO and the Ministry of Health. People must be aware of their own health and act together with the community to contribute to improving the city's anti-pandemic efforts, he said.

With current resources, HCM City can inject 350,000 shots per day or more.

Currently, HCM City has five million doses of Sinopharm's Vero Cell vaccine, and is trying to bring five more million doses of Moderna by the end of this year.

Regarding the five million Moderna vaccine doses, Đức said the vaccination was completely non-profit, coming from the donations of businesses, who wanted to ensure vaccine coverage for its employees, then support the city in injections for priority groups.

Đức emphasised that the city organised vaccination for all people, and treated all qualified vaccines equally. — VNS