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Deputy PM emphasises serious social distancing practice to stop COVID-19 spread in HCM City

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Ho Chi Minh City is forecast to keep growing on the coming days, but with the serious implementation of the Prime Minister’s Directive 16/CT-TTg and adjustments to the contact tracing, sample collection, and testing strategies, the city will manage to contain the outbreak.

So said Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam, head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, at a teleconference with the southern metropolis on July 10.

Social distancing measures under Directive 16/CT-TTg have been imposed across HCM City since July 9.

Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong said the city has appealed to the entire political system and people to engage in the efforts, with a view to expanding the “green zone” in its COVID-19 map.

He noted that HCM City is conducting regular tests in locked-down and high-risk areas, increasing patient beds, and gearing up medical equipment and supplies for testing and contact tracing. It is also stepping up sample collection and enhancing the testing capacity so as to find and isolate infection cases from the community early.

Efforts are being made to firmly maintain “green zones” and gradually turn “red zones” into “orange” and then “yellow” zones and return to the “safe” status, Phong added.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son said given the prediction of an increase in COVID-19 infections (over 1,000 cases each day), the ministry’s special standing division in HCM City has prepared for the scenario of 1,600 new cases recorded daily.

As the number of COVID-19 cases in HCM City may reach 10,000 in the next five days, the city should strive to immediately isolate infection cases from the community, he recommended.

Son added that the Health Ministry has readied four plans to provide personnel for the city. Twenty-five senior officials of the ministry have also been deployed to directly participate in the pandemic prevention and control in the districts of HCM City.

At the meeting, Deputy PM Dam asked the city to tighten the enforcement of social distancing measures under Directive 16/CT-TTg, keep the “green zones” safe and narrow down high-risk sites.

He expressed his belief that the city will succeed in curbing the outbreak thanks to the serious directive implementation and adjustments to the contact tracing, sample collection, and testing strategies./.