[HANOI] Vietnam's commercial hub will be placed under stricter virus control restrictions for 15 days from Friday as authorities seek to stem a new wave of Covid-19 infections in what's already the nation's worst-hit region.
The new curbs will require residents in Ho Chi Minh city to stay home, and venture out only for "essential needs" such as work, food, medicines, or urgent medical assistance, according to a note posted in the city's press centre citing Mayor Nguyen Thanh Phong. The order marks the tightening of restrictions from current measures that bans operation of schools, bars, restaurants, wet markets and most public transport.
Motorbike taxis, which were previously exempt from the curbs, will be kept off the roads for about two weeks from July 9, the order said. Mayor Phong urged citizens not to resort to panic-buying, while assuring them that the city has a sufficient supply of essentials to meet everyone's needs.
The measures follow a call from Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh earlier today for tighter rules to stop the virus's spread. Ho Chi Minh City, which extended social-distancing measures indefinitely on June 29, is now Vietnam's worst-hit region, with 8,151 local infections during the latest wave, according to data from the health ministry.
Vietnam reported 997 new cases Wednesday, including 766 in Ho Chi Minh City, bringing the national total to 23,071 since the pandemic began.
Officials were ordered to check anti-virus measures at industrial parks in big cities, provinces and suspend operations of those don't meet the government's safety requirements, according to the government website.
In Hanoi, meanwhile, the city authority has ordered relevant agencies to tighten anti-virus steps and residents were asked not to gather in public in groups of more than 10. The political capital has reported 16 new local virus cases since Monday and faces a high risk of local transmission, according to a separate posting on the government's website.