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Saigon Restores COVID-19 Health Restrictions, Imposing Fines For Not Wearing Masks

Ho Chi Minh City restores COVID-19 health restrictions

In a briefing on 3rd August, Ho Chi Minh City Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan noted that at least 20% of the city population has not been wearing masks in public ever since the outbreak started again.

To encourage everyone to do their bit to mask up and stay healthy, especially when the city is battling new community cases and thousands of Da Nang returnees are waiting to be tested for COVID-19, HCMC authorities will impose fines on people who do not wear masks in public starting from 5th August.

Failing to wear masks in public places will be fined

Saigon COVID-19_commuters wear masks

The specific amount of fines for not wearing masks has not been announced by relevant authorities yet. However, according to Decree 176/2013, Article 11, Section 1, Clause A, people who do not wear masks in public will face fines of VND100,000-VND300,000 (~USD4.33-VND12.98).

Saigon COVID-19_Nguyen Thien Nhan
HCMC Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan during the briefing
Image credit: Vietnam’s Ministry of Health

Wearing face masks is a tried-and-true measure to help combat COVID-19, especially in situations where physical distancing is not possible. A mask can cover the nose and mouth of the person wearing it, curbing their exposure to airborne viruses and bacteria. It also helps to prevent other people from catching viruses and getting infected.

Saigon COVID-19_children wear masks

To prevent the price gouging of masks and hand sanitizers in stores during emergencies, HCMC authorities will also publish a list of verified stores that sell these essential items in every district.

COVID-19 situation in Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon COVID-19_Bui Vien

According to Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan, Ho Chi Minh City is facing 2 major challenges in pandemic control, including an enormous number of Da Nang returnees as well as illegal immigrants who could be virus carriers.

As of 3rd August, 8 confirmed cases have been hospitalized and treated for COVID-19 treatment in HCMC Hospital For Tropical Diseases. All of these patients are in stable condition, showing no signs of fever, coughing, or difficulties in breathing.

The number of local residents being quarantined at home has amounted to 8,994 people.

1,479 people have been sent to centralized quarantine wards, out of which 234 people with signs of respiratory trouble have been sent for testing. Out of these people, 152 people have been confirmed to be negative for COVID-19, while the rest are waiting for final results.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc urges all to use Bluezone app

Raising the alert about the constant hike in COVID-19 community cases, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged everyone to install the Bluezone app, which is available on both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, on their phones.

Saigon COVID-19_Bluezone App
How Bluezone works
Image credit: Bluezone

Bluezone is a COVID-19 contact tracing app that lets phones automatically communicate with each other using Bluetooth within a 2-meter distance. This app can record the phones’ distance from each other, as well as the time and duration of contact.

It means that users will be alerted if they have come into close contact with a coronavirus carrier, and thus help medical authorities to keep track of COVID-19 exposure in the community.

It is mandatory for all Saigonese residents to wear masks in public places

Given the daily hike in COVID-19 community cases across the country, everybody is at risk of being exposed to the coronavirus. What’s more, doctors have mentioned that Vietnam is now dealing with a new virus strain.

Until the outbreak is completely contained, let’s protect ourselves by wearing masks and sanitizing our hands often, as well as installing Bluezone to be promptly updated on the COVID-19 situation.

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Cover image adapted from: The Smart Local Vietnam

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