Vietnam PM asks major cities to prepare for lockdown to stop virus

“Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have to review and update plans to battle the virus, and have to stand ready for city lockdown scenarios,” Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in a statement.

March 30, 2020 07:59 am | Updated April 13, 2020 05:52 pm IST - HANOI:

Shop owner Kim Anh sits next to a pole hanger of face masks for sale in Hanoi, Vietnam, Friday, March 27, 2020. Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered to shut down non-essential business to curb the spread of COVID-19. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

Shop owner Kim Anh sits next to a pole hanger of face masks for sale in Hanoi, Vietnam, Friday, March 27, 2020. Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered to shut down non-essential business to curb the spread of COVID-19. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

Vietnam's prime minister on Monday asked major cities to prepare for possible lockdowns to stop the spread of coronavirus as the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country reached nearly 200.

“Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have to review and update plans to battle the virus, and have to stand ready for city lockdown scenarios,” Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in a statement.

“Vietnam has entered the pandemic's peak period, major cities have to speed up and take advantage of each hour and minute to carry out defined measures,” Phuc said.

The Vietnamese government has ordered a halt on inbound flights, cut domestic flights , stopped public gatherings and temporarily shut down non-essential services until April 15 at the earliest.

It has also launched an aggressive quarantine and contact-tracing programme to curb the spread of the virus after an influx of infections brought in by Vietnamese citizens escaping outbreaks elsewhere and by foreign visitors.

Vietnam has confirmed 194 infections but has had no reported deaths, according to the health ministry. More than 75,000 people are in quarantine. The country aims to keep the number of infections under 1,000.

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