Vietnam enforces two-week social distancing in Ho Chi Minh City


HO CHI MINH CITY, May 30 (dpa): Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s most populous city, will implement a two-week period of social distancing on Monday for the first time since April 2020, state media said on Sunday.

The decision was made after the city found over 100 new virus cases, linked to a Christian mission cluster that first emerged on May 26, with an unknown source of transmission.

Ho Chi Minh City airport also stopped receiving foreign arrivals from Thursday, though the airport will still operate outbound flights.

Citywide restrictions ban gatherings of 10 people or more outside of workplaces and hospitals and enforce a two-metre social distancing rule, according to online newspaper VnExpress.

Stricter enforcement will be imposed on city districts most affected by the new cluster. Residents in these areas may only gather in public places in twos and must only leave their homes in case of emergency or to gather essentials.

Vietnam has been praised for its response to the pandemic, yet after a month without any community transmissions of the virus, local transmission cases emerged again on April 27, with over 3,000 cases reported since then.

The Ministry of Health on Saturday said it had detected a new Covid-19 variant comprising characteristics from both the British and Indian strains of the virus.

Nguyen Thanh Long, Vietnam’s minister of health, said the new hybrid variant, which is highly transmissible through air, was detected through genetic sequencing on Covid-19 patients in Vietnam.

Vietnam has officially recorded 6,908 coronavirus cases and 47 deaths since the pandemic began. - dpa

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