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Saigon Officially Extends Social Distancing Order for Another 14 Days

In a move that some might have predicted, Saigon authorities have confirmed an extension of the current social distancing orders.

Tuoi Tre reports that Nguyễn Thành Phong, the chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, decided that the city will continue to social-distance under Directive 15 for another two weeks, until June 30. The directive took effect on May 31 and was due to end tomorrow, June 15. 

Phong spoke at a meeting with other municipal officials, acknowledging that even after two weeks under strict regulations and outbreak prevention, there are still a series of clusters with no apparent infection source. This might be evidence that the pandemic has been circulating in Saigon since May, going through several infection cycles. 

Under Directive 15, large events are canceled and gatherings of over 10 people are prohibited. Non-essential businesses and services must close, while restaurants and cafes can only serve via takeaways and delivery.

In the next two weeks of social distancing order, however, Go Vap District and District 12’s Thanh Loc Ward will see the same level of restriction as the rest of Saigon. The two localities hosted the city’s biggest and most complex clusters thus far and were placed under Directive 16, the strictest level, for the past two weeks. See the difference between Directive 15, 16 and 19 here.

At the time of writing, COVID-19 cases have been detected in all districts in Saigon and Thu Duc City. Go Vap tops the list with 115 cases.

Over the weekend, another cluster was found at the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases, one of the city’s designated COVID-19 treatment facilities. According to Tuoi Tre, an administrative staff member showed respiratory symptoms, so the hospital decided to test every employee and inpatient.

So far, 55 of 887 hospital staff have tested positive. The majority of cases are among staff of the facilities’ operational departments like IT, administration, planning, etc. All medical personnel treating COVID-19 patients have tested negative, leading health officials to theorize that the infection source might have come from outside.

All patients currently warded at other departments have tested negative at least once. The HCMC Center for Disease Control has identified 107 F1 cases — family members of infected staff — seven of whom were confirmed to have COVID-19.

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