Mekong Delta provinces want 15-day suspension for people returning from COVID-19 hit localities

October 04, 2021 - 17:00

Authorities in 13 provinces and cities in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta have asked the Government's COVID-19 special working group to not allow people to return to their hometowns via motorbike from other provinces and cities for 15 days. 


Thousands of people returning to their hometowns in the Mekong Delta blocked traffic for hours recently on National Highway No 1A section between HCM City and Long An Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Mạnh Linh

MEKONG DELTA — Authorities in 13 provinces and cities in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta have asked the Government's COVID-19 special working group to not allow people to return to their hometowns via motorbike from other provinces and cities for 15 days. 

Trần Văn Lâu, chairman of Sóc Trăng Province’s People’s Committee, said he and leaders of 12 other localities would prepare all necessary conditions such as vehicles and facilities to welcome people returning from other localities, including COVID-19 hit localities.

The number of people returning to their homes in Sóc Trăng from other provinces due to COVID-19 has increased over the past few days.

On Saturday (October 2), there were around 20,000 people flocking to the province. Nearly 30,000 people have been reported so far. The number is forecast to increase in the coming days.

“The province’s capacity is not able to receive a large number of people at the same time,” Lâu said.

The people who have returned have been tested for COVID-19, and led to their hometowns and forced to follow quarantine requirements under the Ministry of Health's recommendations.

Local schools are being used as temporary isolation facilities.

Along with the local budget, the province has mobilised all social resources available to provide meals for people in the centralised isolation facilities.

Nguyễn Thị Quyên Thanh, deputy chairwoman of Vĩnh Long Province’s People’s Committee, said about 2,000 people have returned to the province from other localities.

“There is still a high risk of an outbreak in the community if people return to areas without plans for strict pandemic prevention and control by local authorities,” she said.

Another risk is the low vaccination rate in provinces and cities in the delta.

Vĩnh Long has more than 600,000 people aged 18 and over who have not received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 250,000 people who missed their scheduled time to get the second dose.

Thanh has asked the Government to prioritise vaccines for localities in Mekong Delta to ensure vaccination coverage.

Huỳnh Quốc Việt, chairman of Cà Mau Province’s People’s Committee, said the province has recorded more than 1,200 people returning from other localities.

The province faces difficulties because of a lack of facilities, medical equipment and limited financial resources to meet the needs of isolation and treatment for the large number of people.

The vaccination rate in the province remains low at about 13.9 per cent, “so the risk of a possible outbreak is very high,” Việt said.

Coordination is needed between localities to agree on plans ensuring safety for people to return to their hometowns, he said.

Nguyễn Thanh Bình, chairman of An Giang Province’s People’s Committee, said the pandemic situation in the province is very complicated with increasing number of community cases and new outbreaks.

The concentrated isolation areas and treatment facilities are being overloaded. The rate of adults receiving the first vaccine dose is only 21 per cent and the second dose is 7.5 per cent.

About 10,000 people returned on October 2 evening, and more than 15,000 people the next day.

About 700 schools are being used as concentrated isolation facilities or a place to receive assistance to return home.

“People flocking to the province are putting great pressure on local medical facilities and quarantine areas,” he said.

Through testing, dozens of COVID-19 positive cases were detected among people who returned to the province on October 1.

“The delta could quickly turn into red zone (very high-risk area) if the travel of people continues in an uncontrolled situation,” he said.

Other provinces like Đồng Tháp, Bạc Liêu, Hậu Giang and Bến Tre have received about 20,000 people, 7,000 people, 3,000 people and 2,000 people, respectively.

They have also set up local schools as temporary isolation areas for people who have returned home due to COVID-19.

The Mekong Delta consists of Cần Thơ City and the 12 provinces of Long An, Tiền Giang, Bến Tre, Đồng Tháp, Vĩnh Long, Trà Vinh,  An Giang, Hậu Giang, Sóc Trăng, Kiên Giang, Bạc Liêu and Cà Mau. — VNS