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HCMC residents not allowed to go out to buy food

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A Vietnamese military personnel stands guard on a deserted road in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday after the government imposed a stricter lockdown until September 16 to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. AFP

HCMC residents not allowed to go out to buy food

Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) authorities have issued an urgent Directive No 11 on Covid-19 prevention, following the government’s order to impose its toughest-ever measures beginning on August 23 that require “everyone to stay at home” and not go out to buy food.

People’s Committee chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong said: “No one, including those living in ‘green’ zones, is allowed to go out to buy food.”

Directive No 11 requires authorities of all districts and Thu Duc City to strictly impose all preventive measures so that the outbreak can be controlled by September 15.

Previously, HCMC said households in a Covid-19-free green area or orange zone would be allowed to go out once a week to buy food. But the southern Vietnamese city has changed the rule.

The city has classified all 312 communes or wards in three levels – green zone, orange zone (high-risk zone) or red zone (extremely high-risk zone). The goal is to maintain and expand the green zones while isolating and reducing the red and orange zones.

To ensure food supply, the city has set up special working groups in wards, communes and townships to help buy food and essential goods on behalf of residents and deliver them to their door.

Phong said the city’s 312 wards, communes and towns, as well as factories and enterprises, play a key role in the prevention measures.

The directive also requires enhanced inspection of people on city streets. They must have a travel paper issued by appropriate agencies or an authentic identification badge.

The city requires “thorough isolation between people, families, wards and communes”. The strict measures aim to protect the health of everyone in the city, according to Phong. “Every citizen plays a major role in the fight against the pandemic.”

The city will continue to provide up to two million social welfare packages (rice, vegetables, cooking oil and spices for one week) to the poor, and will prepare nutritious meals for disadvantaged Covid-19 patients.

Phong said the city would test the entire population during the two-week stay-at-home period. The Covid-19 testing, to be undertaken under the guidance of the Ministry of Health, is being done to isolate and treat Covid patients in a timely manner.

The city will also continue to speed up its vaccination schedule.

It has asked the city Department of Health to work with districts to set up mobile vaccination teams fully equipped with protective equipment and clothing to go to red and orange zones. People living in these areas will go to their nearest mobile unit for their vaccination.

Phong has warned heads of agencies and district authorities (such as chairpersons of people’s committees of Thu Duc City and city districts) and businesses that they will be held responsible for violations of pandemic prevention regulations.

The strict prevention measures will last until at least September 6. Military forces have been mobilised to help supply food and essential items for people so that no one lacks food.

The city aims to contain the outbreak by September 15.

HCMC residents can check the status of their neighbourhood on the following pandemic map from city authorities – bando.tphcm.gov.vn/ogis/ (English available).

By August 27, the city will set up an additional 400 mobile medical stations each equipped with medicine, three-to-five oxygen tanks, SpO2 (oxygen) metres, and quick-test equipment.

The city has also ordered strict punishment of anyone who distributes false or misleading information about pandemic prevention measures, causing panic or confusion in the community.

HCMC has recorded more than 176,000 cases since late April when the fourth wave began.



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