Vietnam extends lockdown as COVID-19 ravages southern part of the country

Vietnam extends lockdown as COVID-19 ravages southern part of the country
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Vietnam's government is extending a lockdown in its southern portion in an effort to manage an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Earlier this month, Vietnam’s government had announced a two-week lockdown starting on July 18 that would restrict movement along the country’s southern region as confirmed COVID-19 cases surpassed the thousands for several days in a row, The Associated Press reported.

During the lockdown period, government officials are asking that people leave their homes only for essential activities, including buying medicine or food. The government also said that gatherings of more than two people are not allowed with the exception of hospitals, some essential businesses and government offices, the AP noted.

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However, Vietnam has continued to see a steady increase in new cases, which have mainly been driven by new cases reported in the south, Reuters notedAccording to data from Johns Hopkins University, Vietnam has seen more than 141,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,100 deaths. 

Confirmed COVID-19 cases slowly ticked upward in July, with cases reaching close to 10,000. Vietnam on Friday recorded 9,765 confirmed cases, its most to date, and surpassed its next-highest count of 8,688 from July 24. 

Vietnam’s health ministry said on Friday that state hospitals were reaching capacity and urged private hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients in the meantime, Reuters noted. 

According to Ho Chi Minh authorities, the country on Saturday received its first of five shipments of China's Sinopharm vaccine. One million doses were delivered to the country on Saturday, and the remaining 4 million are slated to arrive next month, Reuters reported.

Currently, less than 1 percent of Vietnam is fully vaccinated.