HCM City finds more COVID cases in community instead of locked down or quarantined areas

August 17, 2021 - 16:21

As more COVID-19 cases are being detected in the community rather than primarily in locked down or quarantined areas, HCM City districts have been urged to speed up vaccinations.


Police in District 3 check people travelling on Võ Thị Sáu Street. HCM City has extended its lockdown until September 15. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vũ

HCM CITY — As more COVID-19 cases are being detected in the community rather than primarily in locked down or quarantined areas, HCM City districts have been urged to speed up vaccinations.

Speaking at an online meeting on Monday, Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the city People's Committee, said: “The number of new cases in recent days has been detected mostly in the community, instead of in locked down or quarantined areas, as was seen previously.”

Despite strict social distancing measures imposed for more than two months, the country’s COVID hotspot has continued to record a high daily number, bringing the total caseload to more than 152,600 since the start of the fourth wave.

“Of 3,341 infections detected on August 16, the number of cases detected in the community accounted for 53 per cent, higher than in the locked down areas,” Phong said.

He urged authorities in all city districts to speed up vaccinations so that the city could return to a "new normal" as soon as possible.

Phong told district authorities to work with wards and communes to compile figures on vulnerable people who need timely support. “Most people who have no income after losing their job in the past few months should be taken care of so that no one is left behind.” 

Social distancing measures must be strictly followed, he said. People are asked to “stay where they are”, especially in locked down areas.

The city has provided one million social welfare packages to disadvantaged people during the social distancing period. “Districts must ensure that social security packages reach everyone who needs it," Phong said.

Secretary of the City Party Committee Nguyễn Văn Nên said the situation was very serious. “This is like going through a COVID thunderstorm.”

"The war has 30 days remaining, and there is only one way to overcome it, and that is to defeat it," Nên said, referring to the deadline of ending Directive 16 in mid-September. 

The city aims to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of people aged 18 and above (with one dose) and fully vaccinate 15 per cent (with two doses) by September 15.

It plans to begin vaccinating people aged 12-18 from September if there is a suitable vaccine source, according to city authorities.

However, experts have warned that even with a high vaccination rate, people need to continue to practise social distancing measures. 

One million people going out

According to HCM City Police, about 1 million people have been going out on foot and on vehicles daily. About 120,000 vehicles are on the streets every day. Of the number, people who are allowed to transport essential goods, including drivers for delivery apps, account for more than 50,000 people a day. 

The number is expected to rise as the city had allowed more people in eligible priority groups to go out from Monday (Aug 16). 

Priority groups include vaccination forces, emergency aid and COVID-19 prevention and control forces; staff at supermarkets and food stores; reporters and newspaper delivery people; sanitation workers, workers who fix electricity and other infrastructure problems; drivers of essential transport vehicles; and workers at gas stations at city borders.

The city’s functional forces will continue to strengthen patrols and supervise people’s compliance with COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

According to the HCM City Road and Railway Traffic Police Department, from June 1 to August 13, the city’s traffic police handled 14,820 violations of Directive 16, fining violators a total VNĐ30 billion (US$1.31 million). 

There were 570 cases of failing to wear masks in public places, with total fines of VNĐ1 billion, the department said.

The traffic police force is continuing inspections with mobile barriers at checkpoints on city streets. They will control unnecessary movement and fine violators of pandemic prevention measures. — VNS