|Bến Thành Market during the first day of social distancing on July 8 in HCM City.— VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — An additional 16 southern provinces and cities will apply social distancing under Directive 16 from midnight on July 19. The strict measures to stamp out worsening outbreaks of COVID-19 will be in place for 14 days.
The provinces and cities are Cần Thơ City, Bình Phước, Tây Ninh, Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu, Tiền Giang, Long An, Vĩnh Long, Đồng Tháp, Bến Tre, Hậu Giang, An Giang, Bạc Liêu, Sóc Trăng, Trà Vinh, Cà Mau and Kiên Giang.
The move came after Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính signed document No 969/TTg-KGVX on Saturday to strengthen the protection of public health amid the continuing developments of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At present, three localities of HCM City, Bình Dương and Đồng Nai have been applying Directive 16. HCM City has been under Directive 16 since July 8 while Đồng Nai and Bình Dương have had the measures in place since July 9.
Directive 16 orders the closure of non-essential services and businesses, people are told to stay at home unless necessary, gatherings of two or more people in public is forbidden and public transport is halted.
Chính said the exact time to start applying social distancing to 16 provinces and cities was decided by the Chairman of the provincial People's Committee, but must be no later than midnight on July 18.
He also said for localities that had been under social distancing before July 17, based on the results of anti-pandemic activities in the area, the head of the Provincial People's Committee had to promptly report to the authorised agencies for consideration before deciding to continue applying the measures.
Chính ordered all relevant agencies to seriously implement Directive 16, ensuring both medical staff and supply to implement the directive.
Chính assigned relevant agencies to take care of people during the social distancing period.
“People must not lack food or essentials,” he said.
Relevant agencies had to improve treatment and prioritise resources to treat severe cases of COVID-19, he said.
He also called on people and businesses to promote the spirit of national solidarity, sharing, support and strict implementation of social distancing.
He tasked Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam to direct ministries, sectors and localities to apply the directive as well as solving urgent and newly-arising issues on behalf of the Prime Minister. — VNS