HCMC allowed to close down wet markets to suppress coronavirus
Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has given the green light to HCMC’s plan of closing down wet markets in an attempt to curtail the spread of Covid-19, as the pandemic is breaking out on a large scale citywide.
Speaking at an online Covid-19-related meeting on June 25, Deputy PM Binh said that 68% of Covid-19 patients were asymptomatic or showed mild symptoms, but the authorities must stay alert as some countries have faced a Covid-19 resurgence even after vaccinating two thirds of their population.
In HCMC where the disease has spread rapidly, more drastic anti-virus measures should be taken to combat the disease, Binh added.
“If the city fails to bring the disease under control, it would spread to the neighboring provinces. I approve of the plan to shut down wet markets; delivery services can remain operational but they must be well monitored.”
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son said, “Wholesale markets are trading locations and wet markets are places where local residents frequent daily for shopping. We had better shut down these places for several weeks than let them become transmission clusters.”
The authorities also need to monitor people who had bought over-the-counter medicines to check whether they developed symptoms of the respiratory disease, Son added.
According to the deputy minister of health, the number of people in direct contact with coronavirus patients in the city is on the rise, resulting in an overload at the concentrated quarantine center located in the dormitory of the Vietnam National University-HCMC. The ministry decided to allow those in direct contact with confirmed cases to quarantine at home if their houses meet quarantine requirements.
HCMC should ramp up efforts to allow those in direct contact with coronavirus patients to undergo home quarantine to ease the pressure on the city’s quarantine centers, he added.
Following the Deputy PM’s order, Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of the municipal government, asked districts and Thu Duc City to speed up efforts to ensure compliance with anti-virus measures in the city and tackle violators.
The authorities could consider and apply District 8’s model to the wet markets. According to this model, traders will offer services in rotation, while more detailed measures should be worked out for wholesale markets, Phong stressed.
The HCMC Department of Industry and Trade has to work with districts that have wholesale markets to ask traders to commit to following anti-virus regulations. Or else, they would be forced to suspend their business, said the chairman.
HCM City is considering a financial support package worth more than VND76 billion (US$3.31 million) from the State budget to support small traders at traditional markets affected by the pandemic.