Hanoi will start fining those leaving their house without a justifiable reason on Saturday, as the Vietnamese capital is in a critical stage to stall the transmission of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The risk of transmission will dwindle significantly if Hanoi can make it through a 15-day period starting on Wednesday, Nguyen Duc Chung, chairman of the capital, said at a meeting on COVID-19 prevention on Friday.
He was referring to a nationwide social distancing order given by the prime minister that is in place from April 1 to 15. Citizens are asked to stay home as much as possible to avoid contracting the disease, except for trips for food, medicine, and emergency care.
The Vietnamese government believes that anyone possibly carrying the virus in the country will show symptoms during this period, for Vietnam has already halted inbound flights, denied entry to all foreigners, and quarantined infected patients, their close contacts, as well as those exposed to the pathogen.
“If people keep going out and only ten percent of the population fail to comply, the social distancing measure will fall through,” Chung said.
“It is important that everyone stay home and not go out unless under necessary circumstances.”
The chairman underlined that senior citizens should never leave their house during the 15-day period.
Authorities are required to fine people leaving home for non-essential reasons from Saturday, Chung ordered.
“Fine all those people!” he emphasized.
He went on to order parks to be shut and people not to exercise in the parks, as they are doing in droves now.
They should exercise at home, he said.
“If we can make it past April 15, and first past April 9, and new cases drop, then we can feel a little assured,” Chung said.
“Else, it’s getting complicated.
“Stay home as it is very important to the capital city.”
The majority of people in Hanoi have obeyed the social distancing order but a fraction has still visited parks and left their house for unjustifiable reasons, he pointed out.
Vietnam reported ten new COVID-19 patients on Friday, with its total reaching 237, including 190 Vietnamese and 47 foreigners, according to data pooled by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
A total of 86 patients have been free of the virus in Vietnam.
Hanoi has confirmed 102 cases, 38 of whom have recovered.
The capital is one of the country’s epicenters alongside Ho Chi Minh City, where 18 of the 53 patients have been discharged from the hospital.