Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City yesterday began a two-week lockdown in the hope of containing the nation’s worst COVID-19 outbreak.
The city of 9 million had previously been subjected to travel restrictions for one month, but infection rates were steadily rising — with more than 9,400 cases registered.
Before the outbreak began in late April, Vietnam had recorded fewer than 3,000 cases nationwide.
Vietnamese authorities are not using the term lockdown, but are calling the measures “social isolation orders.”
Ho Chi Minh City residents are barred from gathering in groups larger than pairs in public, and people are only allowed to leave home to buy food, medicine and in case of emergencies.
Police have set up checkpoints at city borders and only those with negative test results can get in.
Airlines can carry a maximum of 1,700 passengers to the capital Hanoi per day, aviation authorities said, while trains between Vietnam’s two major destinations have been suspended.
“Our busy city has become extremely quiet,” said Tran Phuong, a resident of the city. “I am anxious that these strict measures cannot help because the virus is now deep across the community.”
Vietnam had once been hailed as a model for virus containment as a result of extensive contact tracing and strict quarantine regulations. All close contacts of virus patients have been put in state-controlled quarantine facilities.
Ho Chi Minh City was the first to adjust the strict policy, allowing close contacts to home quarantine because state-run isolation centers are overrun.
Earlier, state media reported more than 80 inmates and guards had tested positive for COVID-19 at the city’s Chi Hoa jail.
Gunshots rang out from inside the prison on Tuesday, but it remains unclear what happened.
Vietnam is juggling its desire to contain the virus with its economic growth goals.
The nation has been among the best performing economies in Asia, reporting strong growth of 6.61 percent in the second quarter.
“The lockdown ... is too hard. It will severely affect people. Our business has been suspended, so no income. Our life has been quite difficult,” motorbike parts trader Nguyen Thi My Dung said.
Vietnam, which has a population of close to 100 million, has administered almost four million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
Authorities want to reach herd immunity by the end of the year or early next year. Vietnam is developing its own vaccines and has ordered millions of doses from abroad.
Over a few hours under gray skies, dozens of combat planes and helicopters roar on and off the flight deck of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier, in a demonstration of US military power in some of the world’s most hotly contested waters. MH-60 Seahawk helicopters and F/A-18 Hornet jets bearing pilot call signs such as “Fozzie Bear,” “Pig Sweat” and “Bongoo” emit deafening screams as they land in the drizzle on the Nimitz, which is leading a carrier strike group that entered the South China Sea two weeks ago. US Rear Admiral Christopher Sweeney, who is commanding the group, said the tour
Sitting in a lotus position, four men weave glittering beads through gold thread on an organza sheet, carefully constructing a wedding dress that would soon wow crowds at Paris Fashion Week. For once, the French couturier behind the design, Julien Fournie, is determined to put these craftsmen in the spotlight. His new collection, which showed in Paris on Tuesday, was entirely made with fabrics from Mumbai. He said that a sort of “design imperialism” means that French fashion houses often play down that their fabrics are made outside France. “The houses which don’t admit it are perhaps afraid of losing their clientele,” Fournie
A court in Thailand sentenced a 27-year-old political activist to 28 years in prison on Thursday for posting messages on Facebook that it said defamed the country’s monarchy, while two young women charged with the same offense continued a hunger strike after being hospitalized. The court in the northern province of Chiang Rai found that Mongkhon Thirakot contravened the lese majeste law in 14 of 27 posts for which he was arrested in August last year. The law covers the king, queen and heirs, and any regent. The lese majeste law carries a prison term of three to 15 years per incident for
INSTABILITY: The country has seen a 33 percent increase in land that cultivates poppies since the military took over the government in 2021, a UN report said The production of opium in Myanmar has flourished since the military’s seizure of power, with the cultivation of poppies up by one-third in the past year, as eradication efforts have dropped and the faltering economy has led more people toward the drug trade, a UN report released yesterday showed. Last year, the first full growing season since the military wrested control of the country from the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in 2021, saw a 33 percent increase in Myanmar’s cultivation area to 40,100 hectares, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime report said. “Economic, security and governance disruptions