Vietnam blockades southern region as it surges

Hanoi, Vietnam (AP) —Vietnam has placed the entire southern region on a two-week blockade from midnight on Sunday after confirming that COVID-19 cases have exceeded 3,000 for the third consecutive day.

The blockade orders include the big cities of the Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh City is the financial and economic center of the country with a population of more than 35 million, which is almost one-third of Vietnam’s population.

Authorities have stated that action must be taken as the number of infections has reached nearly 50,000 since the outbreak resumed at the end of April after months of lack of case records. Most of the 225 COVID-19 deaths (190 of them) have occurred since April.

Ho Chi Minh City, the epicenter of the surge, had already announced a complete blockade a week ago after dozens of incidents were reported in late May. The city currently accounts for most of the cases in the country, with more than 2,000 cases per day.

“The situation is exacerbated by high infection rates, especially in dangerous delta variants. People’s health and safety must be a top priority,” said Prime Minister Pham Minh Chin, who announced restrictions. It was.

Government orders prohibit all meetings of two or more people in public places, except for government offices, hospitals, and a few important businesses. You are being asked to leave home to buy essentials such as food and medicine, or for important things.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, chairman of the country’s Commission on the Prevention of the COVID-19 Pandemic, said the latest wave had spread to 57 of the country’s 63 municipalities while vaccine supply was still limited. He said the blockade order must be strictly applied.

“For the medical system to work effectively and not be overloaded, we need to keep the transmission speed as low as possible,” Dam said.

According to the Ministry of Health, Vietnam has received only about 6 million of the 124 million vaccines it has ordered and secured directly from vaccine manufacturers through a UN-sponsored COVAX facility.

Over 4 million people have taken at least one dose. Vietnam aims to inoculate at least 70% of the population by the end of the year.

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