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Tens of thousands leave Vietnam’s southern hubs ahead of mass COVID-19 social distancing

Tens of thousands leave Vietnam’s southern hubs ahead of mass COVID-19 social distancing

Sunday, July 18, 2021, 17:31 GMT+7
Tens of thousands leave Vietnam’s southern hubs ahead of mass COVID-19 social distancing
People wait to carry out procedures at the Cai Chanh COVID-19 checkpoint in Dak Rlap District, Dak Nong Province, Vietnam, July 17, 2021. Photo: Dinh Cuong / Tuoi Tre

Tens of thousands of people have left Ho Chi Minh City and neighboring localities for the Central Highlands region over the past few days, right before mass social distancing in southern Vietnam aimed at curbing the increasing COVID-19 spread.

Numerous people have left three economic and industrial hubs in the southern part of Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai Province, and Binh Duong Province, for Central Highlands provinces from Friday, sources from Dak Nong Province said on Sunday.

The exodus came in the context that 19 southern provinces and cities will simultaneously perform enhanced social distancing measures under the prime minister’s Directive 16 from 0:00 on Monday.

Among these provinces, the three economic and industrial hubs have earlier taken such measures to slow coronavirus infections. 

Since Friday, tens of thousands of people flocked to the Cai Chanh COVID-19 checkpoint in Dak Rlap District of Dak Nong Province to perform necessary procedures before being allowed to enter the province, a gateway to the Central Highlands region.

There was a time when thousands of people came to the point at one time to carry out such procedures, including health declaration, said Dao Kim Nghiep, deputy director of the district’s health center.

Around 6,700 people congregate around the checkpoint on Friday, mainly on their personal vehicles, and the figure increased to some 10,000 on Saturday, the center reported.

At midnight on Saturday, over 1,000 travelers queued in a line stretching nearly one kilometer at the Cai Chanh checkpoint, Nghiep said.

On Sunday morning, a long line of people was seen waiting for performing procedures at the checkpoint, where staff were increased by 2-12 times to take charge of two counters for health declaration, with the support of police, soldiers, and other forces.

Nghiep said the checkpoint still needed more people to help relieve pressure on the current staff and speed up the procedures.

People waiting to pass the checkpoint were mainly workers and students from Dong Nai, Binh Duong, and Ho Chi Minh City, said Phan Thanh Huong, a checkpoint staff member.

Most of them were returning to the Central Highlands area, except for a minority that traveled to northern places.

The Central Highlands region comprises five provinces, including Dak Nong, Dak Lak, Gia Lai, Lam Dong, and Kon Tum.  

The Ministry of Health on Sunday morning confirmed 2,472 newly-detected coronavirus cases and 626 patients reported additionally by Ho Chi Minh City, which have taken the country’s tally to 51,002, including 10,312 recoveries. 

Among the latest cases, 1,756 were detected in Ho Chi Minh City, 281 in Binh Duong, and 75 in Dong Nai.

Since April 27, when the pandemic’s fourth wave appeared in Vietnam, the Southeast Asian nation has documented 47,394 infections in 58 of its 63 provinces and cities. Ho Chi Minh City accounted for 29,081 infections.

This image shows a surveillance camera at the Cai Chanh checkpoint in Dak Rlap District, Dak Nong Province, Vietnam, July 17, 2021. Photo: Dinh Cuong / Tuoi Tre

This image shows a surveillance camera at the Cai Chanh checkpoint in Dak Rlap District, Dak Nong Province, Vietnam, July 17, 2021. Photo: Dinh Cuong / Tuoi Tre

Staff are on duty at the Cai Chanh COVID-19 checkpoint in Dak Rlap District, Dak Nong Province, Vietnam, July 17, 2021. Photo: Dinh Cuong / Tuoi Tre

Staff are on duty at the Cai Chanh COVID-19 checkpoint in Dak Rlap District, Dak Nong Province, Vietnam, July 17, 2021. Photo: Dinh Cuong / Tuoi Tre

A person fills out a health declaration form as required by epidemic control rules at the Cai Chanh COVID-19 checkpoint in Dak Rlap District, Dak Nong Province, Vietnam, July 17, 2021. Photo: Dinh Cuong / Tuoi Tre

A person fills out a health declaration form as required by epidemic control rules at the Cai Chanh COVID-19 checkpoint in Dak Rlap District, Dak Nong Province, Vietnam, July 17, 2021. Photo: Dinh Cuong / Tuoi Tre

People wait to carry out procedures at the Cai Chanh COVID-19 checkpoint in Dak Rlap District, Dak Nong Province, Vietnam, July 17, 2021. Photo: Dinh Cuong / Tuoi Tre

People wait to carry out procedures at the Cai Chanh COVID-19 checkpoint in Dak Rlap District, Dak Nong Province, Vietnam, July 17, 2021. Photo: Dinh Cuong / Tuoi Tre

People wait to carry out procedures at the Cai Chanh COVID-19 checkpoint in Dak Rlap District, Dak Nong Province, Vietnam, July 18, 2021. Photo: Dinh Cuong / Tuoi Tre

People wait to carry out procedures at the Cai Chanh COVID-19 checkpoint in Dak Rlap District, Dak Nong Province, Vietnam, July 18, 2021. Photo: Dinh Cuong / Tuoi Tre

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Vinh Tho / Tuoi Tre News

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