Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình at the online conference on COVID-19 prevention on Tuesday. — Photo courtesy of the HCM City Press Centre
HCM CITY — Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình has ordered HCM City authorities to tighten COVID-19 prevention measures at religious establishments, calling on followers to strictly comply with pandemic prevention regulations, following the large number of cases at a religious mission in Gò Vấp District.
Speaking during an online conference on COVID-19 prevention on Tuesday, Bình said: “HCM City must learn from the cluster involving the Christian Revival Ekklesia Mission in the fight against the pandemic.”
Regarding the prosecution of the mission for violations in pandemic prevention regulations, Bình said this was about human violations and had nothing to do with the religion itself.
Bình spoke highly of the city authorities for their timely and drastic measures to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
He said: “More locally transmitted cases could be detected, but with tough measures, I trust the city will be able to get the outbreak under control.”
He stressed the importance of the role of ward and commune leaders in fighting the outbreak.
The deputy PM also demanded the city expand the testing areas citywide but with a focus on high-risk groups of people.
Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the People’s Committee, at the online conference. — Photo courtesy of the HCM City Press Centre
“Pandemic under control”
Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the People’s Committee, said although more locally transmitted cases, especially those related to the religious mission, may be detected in coming days because of the unknown sources of infections, “the situation is still under control.”
The city will continue to focus on large scale testing citywide, including those participating in the election team where there were members of the religious mission voting, residents in Gò Vấp District and Thạnh Lộc Ward in District 12, and workers in industrial parks and export processing zones across the city.
As of May 31, the city has taken more than 70,000 test samples.
Phong has also warned of the high risk of infection at industrial parks and export processing zones. Phong ordered businesses at industrial parks and export processing zones to strictly comply with pandemic prevention regulations.
Any businesses flouting the regulations will be held responsible, according to Phong.
Regarding vaccinations, Phong said with the city’s population of 7.2 million over the age of 18, the supply is not enough. The city recommended a mechanism proposed by the Ministry of Health to decide on the import of more vaccines for the city.
“The current measures are not enough unless they are combined with vaccinations in order to fight against the virus,” according to Phong.
Second support package
The city is working on a second support package for people and enterprises affected by COVID-19, especially SMEs in the service sector which have been severely affected.
The second package will target the “dual goal” of ensuring pandemic prevention while maintaining economic growth.
Nguyễn Tấn Bỉnh, director of the HCM City Department of Health, said the city recorded 200 cases involving the Christian Revival Ekklesia Mission.
Almost all districts have recorded locally transmitted cases, other than District 11 and Cần Giờ District. Gò Vấp District, where the religious mission is based, recorded a record number of 52 cases.
According to the results of viral gene sequencing, the patients were infected with the highly contagious Indian variant.
HCDC advised people to stay calm and follow the recommendations of the health sector. They must see a doctor right away when having COVID-19 symptoms of fever, coughing, or difficulties in breathing, and must submit honest medical declarations.
The city has tested more than 181,000 people citywide, including high-risk locations such as the neighbourhoods, election teams, and wards that had recorded infections.
While HCM City has applied the social distancing for 15 days from Monday, Gò Vấp District, where the headquarters of the mission is based, is under lockdown for 15 days, with people not allowed to go out unless for justified reasons or for emergency situations.
The fourth wave has recorded more than 4,400 cases so far. The country has had 47 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak last year. — VNS