To fight the pandemic is like to fight against foreign aggressors, say Vietnamese leaders.
The majority of cities and provinces in Vietnam's southern region have asked the Government to extend the 15-day partial lockdown due to widespread transmission of Covid-19.
|Workers from affected areas come back to hometown. Photo: Phuong Trang Group|
They said the extension will enable them to curb the spread of the virus that remains in the community and the risk of transmission from returnees who are workers and students from the affected localities.
All 19 southern cities and provinces have imposed for 10 days of strict social distancing in line with Directive 16 (mandates a shelter-in-place order except for emergencies and purchase of essential goods) plus the curfew from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM daily.
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said the pandemic remains complicated with rising infections, especially in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and part of Dong Nai, Binh Phuoc, and Long An where might take months to curb.
It forces the Government and local authorities to adjust measures to be suitable for the situation. The changes will be applied for HCMC and part of Long An, Dong Nai, and Binh Duong, Dam said at a Government meeting on July 29.
“The purpose is to stop the transmission and reduce the number of severe cases and deaths,” he noted.
Regarding the situation in HCMC, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son who leads the Health Ministry's Special Task Force in the city said its top priority is to treat patients and protect those with underlying diseases and the elderly to minimize fatalities.
Deputy Minister of National Defence Vo Minh Luong, who is also head of the Government's Special Task Force in the most populous city, attributed the ineffectiveness to lenient enforcement of the rules.
|Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Dinh Tien Dung checks precautionary measures at a local firm. Photo: Thanh Hai/Kinh Te Do Thi|
Hanoi tightens control over Covid-19
The capital city has undergone five days in the 15-day partial lockdown but the municipal leaders vow to increase the enforcement of the regulations.
Accordingly, hundreds of checkpoints were installed citywide to check the movement, fining those who go out unnecessarily.
Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Dinh Tien Dung asked the Hanoi Capital High Command to work with local authorities to prepare quarantine facilities accommodating 3,000-5,000 people each in all 18 districts. Meanwhile, he required strong enforcement of the regulations at grassroots levels to prevent the transmission.
Chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee Chu Ngoc Anh said stricter restrictions might be applied for high-risk areas to boost the effectiveness of preventive measures.
|A batch of AstraZeneca vaccines arrives at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, HCMC on July 29. Photo: Vietnam Vaccine JSC (VNVC)|
Urgent actions for access to Covid-19 vaccines
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh held a reception for Cuban Ambassador to Vietnam Orlando Nicolás Hernández Guillén on July 29, during which Chinh underlined the sharing of clinical trials experience and the technology transfer of Cuba's Covid-19 vaccines following agreements reached in the phone talks between him and his Cuban counterpart in early July.
The UK and the Czech Republic have pledged to donate to Vietnam 415,000 and 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, respectively, in addition to the donation commitment from eight other countries.
In another move, the American Apparel & Footwear Association has asked US President Joe Biden to ship more vaccines to Vietnam to help the country prioritize jabs for the garment and shoe sectors. The proposal was sent in letters to both the US and Vietnamese governments by a trade group representing Gap, Adidas, and other global fashion brands.
Vietnam is the second-biggest source of clothing and shoe exports to the US, after China. Covid-19 has caused a wave of factory shutdowns in these sectors.
On July 29, a batch of nearly 700,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses arrived in Vietnam under the contract signed between a Vietnamese firm and its AstraZeneca Vietnam, totaling 3.8 million doses imported by this company so far.
Thus far, Vietnam has received nearly 15 million doses of vaccines of all kinds, including five million doses donated by the US.
News sources showed that the third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can boost protection against the Delta variant. Pfizer's new data suggest that antibody levels against the delta variant in people ages 18 to 55 who receive a third dose of vaccine are greater than five-fold than following a second dose.
On Thursday [July 29], nearly 7,600 people in Vietnam tested positive for Covid-19, lifting the tally to 128,413. So far, 25% of the total has recovered while the death toll has reached 863. The majority of infections were found in HCMC, Binh Duong, Dong Thap, and Long An.
|Vietnam’s coronavirus cases. Source: MoH. Chart: Minh Vu|
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