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Ho Chi Minh City keeps supermarket shelves full amid COVID-19 social distancing

Thursday, April 02, 2020, 08:37 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City keeps supermarket shelves full amid COVID-19 social distancing
A woman wearing a face mask shops for toilet paper at a supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, March 31, 2020. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre

Well-prepared supermarkets in Ho Chi Minh City have managed to keep their shelves filled to the brim with goods as the nation implements social distancing to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Markets, supermarkets, and shops selling essentials are allowed to maintain normal operations after 0:00 Wednesday, April 1, when Vietnam entered 15 days of nationwide social distancing as per a directive issued by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc the day before.

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade affirmed the information in a document sent to its information and communications counterpart and the administrations of 24 districts in the city on Tuesday afternoon.

Along with that, the department also stated that supermarket chains and stores in the city had reserved enough supply of essentials to serve the needs of the local people. 

Residents are advised to refrain from gathering at the points of sale in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. 

Online purchases and doorstep delivery are recommended while hoarding and panic buying are not, the trade department said.

It also asked the municipal information and communications department and the administrations of 24 districts to widely propagate this information among the city’s residents.

A couple wearing face masks picks a bag of rice at a Co.op Mart supermarket on Cong Quynh Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, March 31, 2020. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

A couple wearing face masks picks a bag of rice at a Co.op Mart supermarket on Cong Quynh Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, March 31, 2020. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

In separate discussions with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, representatives of supermarket chains MM Mega Market, Saigon Co.op, and VinMart all affirmed they currently have abundant inventories of rice, instant noodles, canned food, drinking water, eggs, meat, and toilet paper.

At a Co.op Mart supermarket on Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street in District 3 on Tuesday afternoon, Le Thi An was shopping for essentials to keep her family fed and comfortable over the next two weeks.

“Everything we need is here [and] nothing’s out of stock,” An told Tuoi Tre, glancing at a grocery list she had made beforehand.

Two women wearing face masks shop for eggs at a supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, March 31, 2020. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre

Two women wearing face masks shop for eggs at a supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, March 31, 2020. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre

Another shopper, Huynh Thi Le Thi from Binh Chanh District, said she was only looking to buy some vegetables for dinner as she did not feel the need to stock up on food.

“It’s only 15 days. You cannot eat so much,” Thi said, adding that being stress-free is more important to stay healthy during the epidemic.

Supermarkets said they allow purchases made via phone calls and instant messaging applications such as Viber and Zalo for the convenience of customers.

Bags of rice pile up at a supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, March 31, 2020. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre

Bags of rice pile up at a supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, March 31, 2020. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Wednesday declared COVID-19 a nationwide infectious disease pandemic.

The government is doing its best to control the epidemic as the country has confirmed 222 cases of COVID-19 infection so far.

No death related to the disease has been reported while 63 patients have recovered and been discharged from the hospital to date.

People wearing face masks shop for vegetables at a supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, March 31, 2020. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre

People wearing face masks shop for vegetables at a supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, March 31, 2020. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre

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