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HCM City to reopen wet markets to ease pressure on supermarkets

Many wet markets in Ho Chi Minh City will be reopened, while ensuring all COVID-19 preventive measures in place, Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Nguyen Phuong.

Priority will be given to those selling fresh foods, vegetables and fruits, Phuong said in a press conference on July 19 updating the COVID-19 situation in HCM City, the country’s current largest hotspot.

The city has closed down three wholesale markets and two-third of wet markets as part of its effort to intensify COVID-19 response after dozens of coronavirus cases linked to the local traditional markets were found, according to the official.

The city has then shifted to modern retailers, such as supermarkets and convenience stores, to supply goods to its residents, causing mounting pressure on these channels and an increasing risk of infection, he said.

To fix the problem, he continued, the Department of Industry and Trade is considering reopening muliple wet markets, identified as safe, to ensure adequate and prompt supply of necessities and effective fight against COVID-19, he noted, adding that 5K message must be followed and direct contact must be minimised between customers and shopkeepers.

Thirty-nine wet markets remained open in the city, mostly in Thu Duc City, and the districts of Go Vap, Binh Chanh, Can Gio and Cu Chi, while three others have been allowed to reopen, including Phu Tho in District 11, An Dong in District 5 and Kien Thanh in Binh Tan District. Plans are being crafted for more markets to open.

About 40 wet markets will be soon made available again if all requirements are met, Phuong said.

Besides, the department has worked with the municipal People’s Committee to prevent price hikes and protect rights of customers. It plans to meet with the city’s market surveillance force on July 20 to strengthen supervision of retailing systems and get tougher on speculators who take advantage of the pandemic to buy goods in bulk and resell them at unreasonably high prices, he said./.