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HCMC extends social distancing with stricter measures until August 1

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HCMC – The HCMC government has decided to extend the city-wide social distancing period under the prime minister’s Directive 16 with stricter anti-pandemic measures until August 1 as the pandemic in the city remains extremely complicated.

At a meeting on July 23 to sum up the city’s implementation of social distancing measures under Directive 16 over the past two weeks, municipal vice chairman Duong Anh Duc said the decision was aimed at controlling and slowing down the spread of the pandemic, expanding safe areas, reducing the number of new Covid-19 cases, focusing on the treatment of critical patients and reducing the number of Covid-19 deaths.

The city will apply stricter measures in line with the municipal Party Committee’s Directive 12, the local media reported.

Accordingly, the city has suspended non-essential production and business activities as well as construction sites.

Banks and stock market facilities are allowed to operate at an adequate level to meet the demand. Branches and transaction offices should ask their employees to work in shifts.

Only businesses in essential sectors are allowed to operate, including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, food, electricity, water and gas supply and the transport of essential goods.

Moreover, only businesses that can arrange accommodation and meals at work for their staff are allowed to remain operational. Employers must arrange vehicles to transport their workers between their concentrated accommodation facilities and their factories.

Those failing to meet the requirements must be suspended.

The State agencies must also arrange for employees to work in staggered working shifts at their headquarters. The employees should go out only if necessary.

The city will reopen traditional wet markets meeting safety requirements but they must reduce their capacity to some 30%.

Only traders of essential commodities and food are allowed but they must take turns to do business at the markets. The markets’ management boards should enhance the application of technologies to manage markets and traders.

Duc said the city would tighten control over areas under lockdown to prevent cross infection there, zone off pandemic-hit areas appropriately and monitor the rise in new cases in areas under lockdown to promptly detect the cross-infection risk and work out solutions.

As for the Covid-19 treatment, the city will improve its capacity, equipment and personnel to take the initiative in all scenarios, mobilizing retired doctors, private hospitals and medical centers to get involved in the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

The healthcare sector must review and ensure sufficient equipment, oxygen, protective suits, medicines and test kits to prepare for the worsening situation.

The city will coordinate closely with the Ministry of Health to mobilize medical workers and equipment for hospitals treating critical Covid-19 patients and set up a warehouse for the storage of equipment.

In addition, support for the poor and the disadvantaged will be enhanced.

HCMC had recorded over 50,000 cases in the current outbreak and has been implementing the stay-at-home mandate under the prime minister’s Directive 16 over the past 14 days after 37 days of social distancing in line with the less rigorous Directive 15.

During the past 14 days, the city reported more than 40,200 Covid-19 cases or 2,780 cases per day on average, mainly at quarantine centers and areas under lockdown, Duc said.

The city is treating nearly 36,600 Covid-19 patients, including 562 intubated and 11 other put on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machines. The city has also reported 441 Covid-19 deaths.

The city currently has more than 2,200 teams taking samples for Covid-19 testing. Each team can take 150-200 samples per day, so the city can take 334,000-445,000 samples per day.

Since July 9, the city has conducted 1.6 million Covid-19 tests, including 1.3 million quick tests and over 291,000 RT-PCR tests.

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