Danang and Hoi An begin tougher restrictions

Ghost town: An aerial views of an empty intersection in Ho Chi Minh City. Tighter anti-virus measures have forced many locals to leave cities and return to their hometowns. — AP

The central city of Danang and Hoi An ancient town began social distancing orders under the Prime Minister’s directive, strengthening drastic measures to control the spread of Covid-19.

With the new directive, which began from 6pm yesterday, the city hopes the strict orders will break the rapid rise in infections. On Friday, 65 new cases were detected.

Locals were warned not to go out unless necessary. It was reported that three months worth food and supplies have been reserved at stores and supermarkets.

The city plans to set up “green zones” at living quarters and factories where zero infections have been identified, to help maintain production and ensure a healthy environment in wider, protection areas.

At least seven traditional markets and one living area in Son Tra district has either temporarily closed or been locked down already.

The city’s health department has also called for voluntary support from retired doctors and nurses as well as senior students from medical universities to help with the mass vaccination programme starting this month.

It is hoped at least 20,000 people will be inoculated each day.

Meanwhile, more than 5,000 people have fled hotspots and locked-down zones to return to their hometowns in motorbike caravans.

Traffic police forces in Thua Thien Hue and Danang have reported that more than 1,000 people with nearly 600 motorbikes had been stopped at Covid-19 checkpoints between July 21 and 28 alone.

Rather than shun the weary travellers, Pham Hong Hai of Danang traffic police, said the community offered their support instead.

Volunteers and donors came together with traffic police to provide logistics, fuel, food and to repair motorbikes for free, he said.

Most of the returnees were workers, street vendors and small business owners who were out of jobs and income because of social distancing orders that began in early July, he said.

A Siu, 31, from Kon Tum province, said he worked for a factory in Binh Duong province, but it was closed for three months.

He and his wife with an child had to return home to Sa Thay district as their savings had all been spent.

“We tried and waited. But nothing changed for the better. We used our savings to survive during the social distancing orders, but we lost our patience. Going home was the best choice,” Siu said.

“Bus trips were banned, so we had to ride on a motorbike, and the trip took us 15 hours. It’s dangerous, but we had no choice.” — Vietnam News/ANN

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