Vice Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee Dương Anh Đức inspects COVID-19 prevention measures at the largest wholesale market in HCM City on early Friday. Photo courtesy of the HCM City Press Centre
HCM CITY — HCM City authorities have urged all residents to continue to take further precautions and maintain social distancing measures as “everyone is now potentially a source of infection”.
Dương Anh Đức, vice chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, said the city was speeding up its vaccination drive while preparing for various scenarios (up to 5,000 or 10,000 infection cases).
Đức spoke during an unannounced inspection of COVID-19 control and preventive measures at Bình Điền wholesale market in District 8 early Friday.
The largest wholesale market in the city has about 20,000 people working every night, posing a potential risk of infection.
“The pandemic situation remains unpredictable,” said Đức, adding that management must regularly conduct inspections of the market.
The market management board has been using advanced technology such as monitoring equipment, face recognition, and automatic temperature measurement devices that operate remotely via a camera system.
The city is continuing to tighten prevention measures at industrial zones and export processing zones as requested by Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình.
More than 7.2 million people aged 18 and above live in HCM City, and of this number, 1.6 million work in industrial parks. But only 140,000 vaccine doses have been given, primarily to medical staff and others who are considered a priority.
The city has 17 export processing zones and industrial parks with more than 280,000 workers and nearly 3,000 foreign experts working at 1,500 enterprises.
City authorities will continue to conduct mass testing of people in high-risk locations. The city’s testing capacity has risen to 100,000 samples per day.
In a related move, the city will pilot a programme to allow people classified as F1 (direct contacts of COVID patients) to be quarantined at home instead of in concentrated quarantine areas, as the number of F1 cases has continued to rise.
As of June 3, HCM City had administered the third phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive. So far, 21,706 people have been vaccinated. As many as 10,530 people had the first dose and 11,176 have been fully vaccinated.
All post-injection reactions have been carefully monitored.
More than 800,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses out of the nearly one million doses donated by the Japanese Government to Việt Nam are expected to be used very soon in the next vaccination drive in HCM City, according to the Ministry of Health.
The health ministry has asked the city Department of Health to map out a vaccination programme in which all the doses would be administered within a week.
Besides priority groups, including medical workers and people working on the frontlines, during the next vaccination drive, those who work in essential businesses, teachers, staff at administrative offices, people aged 65 and more, and workers at industrial/processing zones will be vaccinated.
The HCM City CDC warned that everyone could be a source of infection, and urged people to stay calm and follow the recommendations of the health sector.
As of Friday afternoon, the city had recorded 1,265 locally transmitted cases since the end of April. The city has the third highest number of cases in the country’s fourth COVID-19 wave.
More than 349 cases in the city have recovered, accounting for 23.08 per cent. The city has recorded two deaths due to COVID-19 since the outbreak early last year.
The chain of infection associated with the Gò Vấp District cluster has been under control. However, the city has continued to detect locally transmitted cases without being able to identify the source of infection.
The city has extended citywide social distancing in line with the Government’s Directive No 15 until the end of the month. — VNS
Flower traders at Bình Điền wholesale market are required to comply with prevention measures such as medical declaration, body temperature measurement, and mask wearing. Photo courtesy of the HCM City Press Centre