Saigon removes hour-long lockdown order at downtown condo building over new COVID-19 cluster

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Saigon removes hour-long lockdown order at downtown condo building over new COVID-19 cluster

This photo shows the apartment sealed off due to a new COVID-19 cluster at 89-91 Nguyen Du Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, February 21, 2022. Photo: Le Phan / Tuoi Tre

Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City placed an apartment building in District 1 under temporary lockdown on Monday to control the spread of a new COVID-19 cluster with a score of infections detected recently before removing it just half a day later.

A representative of the People’s Committee of Ben Nghe Ward in District 1 confirmed the medical isolation order imposed on the building, located at 89-91 Nguyen Du Street, on Monday morning.

“COVID-19 cases have been found on every floor of this four-story apartment building,” a representative of the Medical Center of District 1 told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

“Initial statistics have reported more than 20 positive cases.”

Police officers were guarding the apartment building, as observed by Tuoi Tre correspondents on Monday morning, while its residents were still accessing all delivery services.

The lockdown, which was ordered on Sunday afternoon to facilitate the mass COVID-19 testing for all residents of the building, was lifted by the middle of Monday, with only some households with infected patients remaining under quarantine, according to District 1 chairman Le Duc Thanh.

Many experts have commented that any lockdown is not advisable in the current context.

“The solution here is home isolation, not a lockdown,” said Dr. Do Cao Van Anh, deputy dean of the Faculty of Infectious Diseases at the Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Do Van Dung, head of the Faculty of Public Health at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City, also said that such a blockade is likely to draw negative reactions from the public, like their evasion to report infections to authorities.

“All apartment buildings are no different from residential areas,” Dr. Dung explained.

“Human contact among apartments is even less than that made by people living in residential areas.

“Therefore, it is not fair to lock down an entire building because of a COVID-19 case while people living in residential areas with the same infection situation are allowed to go outside [like the present].

“Besides, mass COVID-19 testing is no longer effective when there have been a lot of infections in the community now.”

A resident receives goods at the apartment sealed off due to a new COVID-19 cluster at 89-91 Nguyen Du Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, February 21, 2022. Photo: Le Phan / Tuoi Tre

A resident receives goods at the apartment sealed off due to a new COVID-19 cluster at 89-91 Nguyen Du Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, February 21, 2022. Photo: Le Phan / Tuoi Tre

The number of COVID-19 infections in Ho Chi Minh City has increased after the Lunar New Year holiday, which ended earlier this month, and the resumption of offline study.

The number of hospital admissions is also on a slight upward trend.

The Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control said that the spike in new cases in all districts and Thu Duc City had been in the forecast.

Besides, many Omicron coronavirus cases have been detected in the community in the southern city while Vietnam is transitioning to the safe and flexible adaptation to COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health logged a record high of 47,200 coronavirus cases across the country on Sunday, alongside 13,414 recovered patients and 78 virus-linked mortalities.

The Southeast Asian nation has detected 2,780,251 community transmissions in all its 63 provinces and cities since the fourth virus wave broke out on April 27, 2021.

Above 2.27 million of them have recovered from COVID-19.

The total caseload since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the country in early 2020 has reached 2,787,493 patients.

Healthcare workers have administered over 191 million vaccine doses, including 456,129 shots on Saturday, since inoculation was rolled out nationwide on March 8, 2021.

Over 174.6 million doses have been given to the adult demographic of the country’s 98 million people, including 70,871,973 first shots, 67,266,482 second doses, 13,335,678 additional primary jabs, and 21,692,469 boosters.

A total of 16,756,669 shots have been injected into children aged 12-17, including 8,608,568 first doses and 8,148,101 second jabs.

Ho Chi Minh City, which has registered some 520,000 infections in the fourth bout, has gradually resumed socio-economic activities since early October last year after being placed under strict lockdown for nearly six months.

More than 8.1 million adults of the southern metropolis’ nine million population have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose while over 7.5 million of them have been jabbed twice.

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