Updated: August 23, 2021 09:37 AM GMT
Catholic volunteers pray in front of a statue of Jesus before setting off to serve at hospitals in Binh Duong province on Aug. 15. (Photo: giaophanphucuong.org)
Vietnam has started to impose stricter movement restrictions in southern epicenters of the Delta variant outbreak, using troops and public security forces to control public travel and provide food supplies.
On Aug. 22, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said the contagious Delta variant outbreak is raging in Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Long An provinces.
Prime Minister Chinh asked his cabinet and local officials to ensure the people's lives and health by taking steps to significantly tighten social distancing and strict measures to contain the contagion.
He called on people to stay home or where they are, separating house from house and ward from ward. The public maintaining social distancing will take a decisive role in containing the pandemic.
The prime minister also asked troops, militiamen and public security forces to supervise the practice of social distancing and other measures while helping to provide medical and essential services as well as food supplies for people.
Health workers are running massive testing drives and vaccinating people in affected areas, especially Ho Chi Minh City.
Those who cannot afford food will be given free food during the period
The city's authorities decided to tighten movement restrictions in 15 days starting from Aug. 23 to control the pandemic by Sept. 15 at the prime minister's request.
All people must stay home, excluding forces to fight against Covid-19 and provide basic services, those who go to get vaccinated, workers who offer food to charity kitchens and refuse collectors. Shippers are banned from working in eight districts stricken by Covid-19.
The National Defense Ministry has deployed 35,000 militiamen, thousands of soldiers, 2,000 health workers and 30 ambulances in the southern commercial hub.
They will help buy and transport food to people at their request in isolated areas once a week. Those who cannot afford food will be given free food during the period. People in safe areas are only allowed to go shopping at local shops every week.
Pham Duc Hai, deputy of the city's steering committee for Covid-19 prevention, said the city has prepared 2 million packages of food for the needy. It has also set up more than 400 mobile health stations to provide health services to the people.
The city dispenses an estimated 11,000 tonnes of rice, meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and other foods, 19 million liters of drinking water, 629,000 face masks and 119,798 liters of disinfectant per day for its population of 9.4 million.
Binh Duong province, the second-largest epicenter after the city, started to impose stricter movement restrictions in 11 wards on Aug. 22. An estimated 720,000 locals will be given free food costing 50,000 dong each per day.
Catholics in the city and the provinces of Dong Nai and Binh Duong have made constant efforts to provide generous donations to people seriously affected by Covid-19 for months.
Our presence is a sign of God's presence and love among people
On Aug. 20, Father Joseph Nguyen Ngoc Hoan, who is in charge of Catholic youth in Xuan Loc Diocese which covers Dong Nai province, called on young people including catechists to join health workers in giving mass tests to people in Bien Hoa. They will be vaccinated and trained in basic skills before starting their services in 14 days at health centers.
Father Hoan said this is an opportunity for them to "show our deep solidarity with other people. Our presence is a sign of God's presence and love among people."
The city and the provinces of Dong Nai and Binh Duong have recorded 263,924 infections and 7,272 deaths among Vietnam's 343,973 cases since the first Delta variant cases were detected late April.
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