Vietnam’s HCM City to begin strict lockdown from Monday, military forces to help supply food to people

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Motorists wait on their motorcycles at a traffic light during rush hour in Ho Chi Minh City on September 8, 2020. Photo: AFP / Nhac Nguyen Thais expanding abroad

Vietnam’s HCM City to begin strict lockdown from Monday, military forces to help supply food to people

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has urged the country’s pandemic hotpot HCM City to impose its toughest COVID-19 prevention measures ever beginning on Monday as “everyone is asked to stay at home”.

HCM City to begin strict lockdown from Monday, military forces to help supply food to people
Speaking at an online meeting on pandemic prevention late Thursday, PM Chính said the fight against the virus would focus on major roles played by ward and commune authorities.

“Everyone is asked to stay at home,” said PM Chính, adding that each ward or commune will ensure that residents are supplied with food, essential items and accommodation.

The Prime Minister ordered the city to classify the pandemic situation in all 312 communes or wards according to three levels: green zone (COVID-free zone), red zone (extremely high-risk zone) and yellow zone (high-risk zone).

The goal is to maintain and expand the green zones while isolating and reducing red and yellow zones.

The PM has ordered the city to strictly implement Directive 16 by fulfilling six key tasks.

Firstly, the city must implement “thorough isolation between people, families, wards, and communes”. The police and army forces will be mobilised in case of a personnel shortage.

Second, the army will be responsible for providing food and essential items for people so that no one lacks food.

Thirdly, medical capacity will be enhanced, including more medical equipment (including oxygen supply), as well as nurses and doctors, to treat patients in communes and wards.

The city must prepare emergency vehicles and emergency centres in each district to respond immediately when needed. Treatment is on three levels: commune or ward level (mild or moderate symptoms), and district level and city level (more severe and critically ill cases).

The PM recommended that the city continue piloting home treatment of asymptomatic cases.

Chính also ordered the Ministry of Health to research and determine whether a combination of oriental and western medicine is needed in order to minimise the number of deaths.

Fourth, the city must strengthen the police force to ensure security, order and safety for the people.

Fifth, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs will work closely to provide timely support to people in need of relief. Police forces at grassroots level will provide food to the homeless.

Sixth, the city will speed up testing under the guidance of the Ministry of Health with appropriate forms, including testing at home, and will detect cases in the community so the city can isolate and treat all COVID patients in a timely manner.

The PM also asked the city to consider relocating certain people out of densely populated areas to reduce the number of cross-infections. This proposal is based on what northern provinces did in fighting a COVID outbreak. The city should use military sites, schools and accommodation facilities for this purpose.

PM Chính has assigned Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh to be in charge of vaccine diplomacy. Deputy Prime Minister Lê Minh Khái is in charge of logistics, finance, and allocation of national reserves, and Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam pandemic prevention and healthcare issues. Deputy Prime Minister Lê Văn Thành is in charge of goods supply.

Since the fourth COVID wave began in April, HCM City has recorded about 165,000 cases. The city has carried out social distancing for 43 days under the Government’s Directive 16.