Social distancing measures have been implemented in the northern Vietnamese province of Hai Duong as the locality has documented 73 local COVID-19 infections since Thursday morning.
Social distancing was reinstated in the province from noon on Thursday, Secretary of the Hai Duong Party Committee Pham Xuan Thang told the press.
The official had attended an urgent meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc earlier the same day following the announcement of COVID-19 patients No. 1,552 and 1,553.
The meeting was convened at the National Convention Center in Hanoi, where the 13th National Party Congress is taking place.
Patient 1,552 is a 34-year-old Vietnamese woman working for Vietnam Poyun Electronics Co. Ltd. in Cong Hoa Ward, Chi Linh City, Hai Duong Province.
She had come into contact with a woman who left Vietnam for Japan on January 17. That woman tested positive in Japan on Tuesday for the new variant, which has raged in the UK and been confirmed to be 70 percent more transmissible than the old one.
By noon on Thursday, 72 more COVID-19 patients, who were in direct contact with patient 1,552, had been confirmed by the health ministry.
According to Secretary Thang, a total of 2,374 workers at Vietnam Poyun Electronics have been tested for COVID-19.
Local authorities are coordinating with the health ministry to track and test other people who came into contact with these workers.
Cong Hoa Ward and some other areas at high risk of infection have been sealed off, Thang stated.
Strict social distancing measures have been applied in Chi Linh City in accordance with the prime minister’s directive No. 16, the official stated.
Under this directive, all residents are required to stay home and can only go outside to buy food, supplies, medicine, and other essential goods and services.
People are also allowed to leave their homes in emergency cases, to seek medical examinations and treatment, or to go to work at state agencies, armed forces, or diplomatic bodies.
People must wear face masks when leaving their houses and keep a two-meter distance from one another, while the gathering of more than two people outside public offices, schools, and hospitals is forbidden.
The rest of Hai Duong Province will undergo more relaxed social distancing rules in accordance with the prime minister’s directive No. 16, which bans all crowded activities.
Competent authorities will inspect all factories in the province, Thang stated, adding that these factories will be suspended if they fail to comply with COVID-19 prevention and control regulations.
All K-12 students in Hai Duong are also allowed to enter their Lunar New Year holiday one week earlier than the original plan.
Fireworks shows celebrating the Lunar New Year will be canceled, while Tet fairs must apply social distancing measures.
All residents in the province are required to wear face masks in public, the official added.
Vietnam has documented 1,635 coronavirus patients as of Thursday afternoon, with 1,430 recoveries and 35 virus-related deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.
The ministry announced 84 local infections, including 73 in Hai Duong and 11 in northern Quang Ninh Province, from Thursday morning to noon.
The nation had not detected any community case since December 2.