The most populous city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, will impose new social distancing measures for two weeks on Monday to its more than 9.5 million inhabitants due to the increase in the contagion of coronavirus, as reported by the chairman of the local council, Nguyen Thanh Phong.
Much of the blame for the upturn in cases lies in an outbreak that appeared in a religious congregation. The city has registered 126 patients linked to this concentration since Wednesday, although 33 of them remain unconfirmed by the Ministry of Health.
The restrictions will include the suspension of social events in much of the city, the prohibition of gatherings of more than 10 people outside the workspaces, schools and hospitals, and of more than 20 people in a place, as well as the requirement of a minimum social distance of two meters in public, according to statements collected by the newspaper VNExpress.
In two districts of Ho Chi Minh the measures will be even more strict: gatherings of more than two people will not be allowed in public and residents are advised not to leave their homes except to buy food, drugs or to work in companies considered as “essential”.
In addition, and as an exceptional measure, the Vietnamese authorities have announced that they intend to test all residents of the city, in what would be a campaign of extraordinary proportions for the country, since it would mean the application of more than 100,000 tests daily.
The secretary of the Communist Party for the city, Nguyen Van Nen, has explained that “the city must accept the measure of social distancing for long-term protection” and that “the period of two weeks can be quite long, but there is no other solution “because” it must be taken into account that the city may end up facing the worst possible scenario “.
This is the second time that social distancing has been imposed across the city. The first time was in April of last year, when it followed a national order.
Vietnam has registered 3,893 cases of coronavirus infection in the last month, including 108 in the city, and detected in the last hours a new hybrid mutation of SARS-CoV-2 that combines the British and Indian variants and spreads rapidly through the air.