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Thursday, October 28, 2021

13 Mekong Delta provinces may suspend receiving residents returning home

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – All 13 provinces in the Mekong Delta have proposed the Government’s working team in the southern region suspend the unsupervised exodus of people, mostly migrant workers, from HCMC and adjacent provinces to the Mekong Delta for 15 days, said Tran Van Lau, chairman of Soc Trang Province.

During the period, the Mekong Delta provinces will focus on ensuring the safety of those who have already returned, Lau said.

Over the past few days, there have been large numbers of people exiting HCMC and neighboring provinces to the Mekong Delta provinces as anti-coronavirus measures were relaxed, the local media reported.

On October 2 alone, some 20,000 people returned to Soc Trang. The figure has been some 30,000 people. Soc Trang cannot receive more people and if more of them come back to the province, it would pose a high risk of mass transmission.

The province has converted schools into centralized quarantine centers, built more restrooms and ensured accommodation for returnees. Besides the province’s budget, the province has called on benefactors to help with meals for them, Lau added.

An Giang Chairman Nguyen Thanh Binh said more than 10,000 people returned to the province on October 2. As of October 3, the figure increased to over 15,000.

All of them stayed at schools and an indoor stadium in Long Xuyen City before being transported to districts and cities. Due to a huge number of returnees, 700 schools in the province have been used to accommodate them.

The pandemic remains complicated in An Giang as the number of new locally-infected Covid-19 cases is still rising and new clusters have been detected in the Phu Tan, Tan Chau and Cho Moi districts.

Meanwhile, medical workers and infrastructure serving the Covid-19 fight in the province remain modest. Concentrated quarantine and treatment facilities have been nearly overloaded and the vaccination rate remains low.

Only 21% of local residents have got one vaccine shot and 7.5% of others have received two shots.

The unsupervised return of residents has put pressure on the quarantine, testing and treatment facilities in the Mekong Delta. Moreover, the risk of community spread is huge.

On October 1 alone, more than 10 Covid cases were detected among the returnees, Binh said, voicing his concern over the pandemic outbreak in the region.

Dong Thap Chairman Pham Thien Nghia said the province had received more than 20,000 people. If the number continues to rise, the province would find it hard to control the situation.

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