HCM City extends lockdown for another month, aims to reduce daily cases in early September to 2,000

August 15, 2021 - 14:56

HCM City will extend its strict social distancing measures for another month given the risk of a re-emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, Phan Văn Mãi, deputy secretary of the city Party Committee, said yesterday.

Traffic started to pick up in HCM City on Friday when social distancing order has not expired. — VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Tình

HÀ NỘI — HCM City, the current COVID-19 epicentre of Việt Nam, will extend its strict social distancing measures for another month until September 15 given the risk of a resurgence, Phan Văn Mãi, vice secretary of the city's Party Committee, said on Sunday.

Speaking at a meeting to receive goods and necessities for people affected by the pandemic in HCM City, Mãi said the pandemic could become more severe if the city relaxes its vigilance.

“Therefore, it’s essential that social distancing be applied to reduce the number of new cases and gradually bring the city to a 'new normal' state", he said.

In order to do so, people's awareness is the most important factor, he emphasised.

Mãi said the city has gone 80 days since the fourth wave of infections broke out with the Delta mutation. The period of social distancing, especially the five weeks of tightening Government’s Directive 16, were "unprecedentedly difficult" days for the political system and people.

The city has made great efforts to control outbreaks and infection chains, removing hundreds of locked down areas, promoting control of red zones, as well as expanding green zones. The health sector also cured more than 70,000 people and administered vaccines for over 4.5 million people.

With the spirit of making all efforts to take care of people, the city has tried its best to reduce difficulties, while ensuring the supply of goods and issuing support packages.

Mãi said the pandemic in HCM City has been partially controlled but is still very complicated; the number of infections is still high; the treatment system is overloaded and its operation is not synchronous. The process of receiving and treating COVID-19 cases is sometimes not efficient and the death rate has not decreased.

He said the Government’s requirement to control the pandemic by September 15 is challenging, but it was the common desire of the people. Leaders of the city affirmed maximum priority towards pandemic prevention, while putting the health and life of the people first and foremost.

To achieve this goal, Mãi said HCM City will focus on implementing four main tasks.

The first is to thoroughly apply social distancing, limiting the source of infection, each person and each household must strictly comply with the requirements of social distancing and the 5K message.

"The pathogen remains widespread in the community, close contacts make it more easy to spread, and that could be very dangerous for people with weak immune systems, the elderly, or those with underlying medical conditions,” he said.

Secondly, the city takes good care of people's lives in the coming days of social distancing, ensuring people’s needs for goods and necessities are met. 

The city will mobilise all possible resources to deploy welfare packages for the poor, elderly people who live alone, freelance workers who lost their jobs, to ensure the basic life of people until they return to a “new normal” life.

Third, the city will focus on effective treatment strategies, reducing mortality. The city is expanding the number of hospitals and treatment facilities to meet the needs of emergency, oxygen support, medical care and deploying F0 home treatment.

Fourth, the city is speeding up vaccination to achieve herd immunity. However Mãi emphasised that even when the vaccination rate is high, implementing the 5K message is still a requirement.

The need to impose social distancing for one more month was also noted earlier on Saturday by Secretary of HCM Party Committee Nguyễn Văn Nên at a conference about assessment of pandemic prevention and control results after two weeks of implementing Directive 12, issued by the HCM City Party Committee's Standing Commission on strengthening several measures to implement the Prime Minister’s Directive 16 on the prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic in HCM City.

The city has implemented the Prime Minister’s Directive 16 on social distancing rules since July 9 and started to impose even more restrictions from July 24 to contain spread of the virus. 

On July 23, the Municipal People's Committee decided to extend the application of social distancing measures until August 1.

On August 1, the city issued a decision on imposing city-wide social distancing measures under the Prime Minister’s Directive 16 for an additional 14 days from 0:00 on August 2. — VNS

Two stages

Chairman of HCM City People's Committee Nguyễn Thành Phong said on Sunday the month-long social distancing will be divided into two stages in a bid to control the COVID-19 outbreak by September 15 as per the Government's wish.

In stage 1, from August 15 to August 31, the city will try to reduce the death rate, not to leave COVID-19 patients with worsening conditions untreated, expanding 'green zones' (COVID-19 free areas), and contain the outbreaks in districts 5, 7, 11, Cần Giờ, Nhà Bè, Củ Chi, and Phú Nhuận.

In stage 2, between September 1 and 15, the city aims to cut down 20 per cent of the number of deaths and seriously-ill cases, have less than 2,000 new patients a day, and 70 per cent of the population (over 18 years old people) having received at least one dose of vaccine and 15 per cent fully vaccinated. 

Phong said the city's number of daily new cases is 'flatlining' and compared to the height of the outbreak in the 13 days between July 20 and August 1, the number of daily new cases in the last 13 days (August 2-August 14) has gone down by 18 per cent (4,615 down to 3,830, respectively).

The city is increasing the vaccination rate with various deployment methods (mobile vaccination vehicles, at-home vaccination, conducting vaccination at night, allocation of vaccines to businesses who hire professionals to do the administration to reduce the burden on public health). — VNS