Vietnam’s business hub Ho Chi Minh City has decided to suspend motorbike taxi services for passenger transport during a 15-day extensive social distancing period that will begin on Friday, in an effort to curb increasing coronavirus infections.
Municipal authorities on Wednesday announced social distancing measures under the prime minister’s Directive 16 will be enforced for 15 days starting on Friday, in the context that hundreds of people are diagnosed with COVID-19 in the city every day.
Motorbike taxi services, both traditional and app-based, for passenger transport will be suspended, while such services for goods delivery are exempted.
Local authorities have suspended public passenger transport by car, except for shuttling employees to and from work, and taxicabs designated to transport people to and from health facilities in emergency cases.
During the social distancing period, the municipal transport department must coordinate with its counterparts in other localities to ensure smooth transport of goods.
Captains and crew members of all vessels, foreign and local alike, which enter or leave Ho Chi Minh City seaports must present negative COVID-19 test certificates one day before the date of entry or leaving and must not get ashore at the same time.
Local residents are required to stay home and only go outside to buy food and supplies, seek emergency treatment, or go to work.
People must keep a two-meter distance from one another, while public gatherings of more than two people are forbidden and all non-essential businesses and services will be shut down.
Speaking at a meeting on Wednesday evening with Ho Chi Minh City authorities, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long warned that infections might increase rapidly in the coming days.
The city must prepare scenarios to cope with the complex epidemic developments, the minister said, adding that more than 3,300 health workers and students have arrived in the city as support forces sent by the ministry.
Restrictions have been in place in Ho Chi Minh City since May 31 but the virus has never been kept at bay.
Directive 16 measures are considered a far stricter way to contain the pathogen.
The Ministry of Health at noon on Thursday confirmed 355 new coronavirus cases, all domestically detected, of which 200 were recorded in Ho Chi Minh City.
The latest infections have taken the country’s total patient number to 23,740, including 8,557 recoveries and 105 deaths, since early 2020.
Since April 27, when the pandemic’s fourth wave kicked off in Vietnam, the country has documented 20,279 domestic infections.