Making news

HCM City stops all non-essential business, service establishments

Ho Chi Minh City is to shut down all non-essential business and service establishments from the noon of February 9 as part of efforts to contain the resurgence of COVID-19.

Facing complex developments of the coronavirus, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong on February 8 afternoon ordered to halt all cultural, sports, and entertainment activities, beauty salons, karaoke palours, dance halls, restaurants, bars, pubs, beer clubs, massage and sauna parlours, e-game stores, wedding centres, tea shops, theatres, sports centres, and billiards stores.

The administration also requested religious rituals and activities with 20 people or more at religious sites and places of worship be halted.

The suspension will last from the noon of February 9 until further notice.

Meanwhile, gas stations, shops selling essential goods and medicine, as well as medical establishments remain open but have to comply with anti-COVID-19 measures as regulated by health authorities.

Phong told local relevant forces to strictly deal with any people not wearing face masks in public places, ramp up control of those illegally entering Vietnam in the city, ensure security and order, and guarantee sufficient supply of goods.

The municipal People’s Committee recommended local residents stay calm, minimise movement, avoid mass gatherings, and not share unconfirmed information about the pandemic.

It also asked people to proactively report to local health agencies if they recently returned from outbreak-hit areas or know any having close contact with confirmed cases.

After HCM City recorded 25 new locally-infected cases of COVID-19 on February 8, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told a Government meeting the same day that he agreed with the Ministry of Health’s proposal to permit HCM City and Hanoi to impose social distancing in certain areas.

He also stressed that chairpersons of the People’s Committees of HCM City, Hanoi, Hai Phong, and some other big cities can apply strong and appropriate measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the community, especially during the approaching Lunar New Year holiday (Tet).

The 25 new cases in HCM City are linked with the baggage handlers previously testing positive for the virus at Tan Son Nhat International Airport. The handlers haven’t been found to have any contact with passengers.

The baggage handling team at the airport is considered a hotbed with relatively complicated developments since neither sources of virus transmission nor the starting point of transmission has been identified.

Authorities predicted that there could be more cases of community transmission there in the time ahead.

The new cases have raised the total infections in HCM City to 30 in the latest outbreak.

In the face of this situation, HCM City has re-activated the entire COVID-19 prevention and treatment system and raised the alert level in the pandemic fight.

It also completed the second testing of the 1,600 staff members of the baggage handling company at Tan Son Nhat Airport on February 8 evening while temporarily sealing off all affected areas in seven districts.

As of February 9 morning, Vietnam had reported 2,053 cases of COVID-19, including 1,163 local infections with 470 posted since January 27.

As many as 1,472 patients have recovered while the number of related fatalities remains at 35, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control./