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Thuan Kieu Plaza to Be Converted Into Covid-19 Field Hospital

Saigon authorities are preparing for scenarios in which the number of local COVID-19 cases increases too fast.

The Saigon Times reports that two of the three towers at District 5's Thuan Kieu Plaza, now known as the Garden Mall, are being converted into a field hospital amid the city's severe COVID-19 outbreak.

This will be Saigon's fifth field hospital, and work on the project began Thursday morning. Two of the 33-floor towers have been requisitioned, and the entire facility has been disinfected. It is expected to take a week to establish the field hospital, and the facility will be handed over to the municipal Department of Health upon completion.

Thuan Khieu Plaza was built in 1994 and has hundreds of apartments, but it has a complicated history thanks to a number of urban legends that left many believing the towers are haunted. In 2017 the towers received a much-needed facelift and the commercial center on the ground floors was remodeled into a more upscale shopping area, but the apartments have remained largely empty.

The news source adds that city officials previously converted a 1,000-bed dormitory at the National Defense and Security Training Center and a 4,000-bed dorm at the Vietnam National University-HCMC into field hospitals, in addition to resettlement apartment buildings in Thu Duc City, District 12 and Binh Chanh District.

On Thursday night, Saigon entered 15 days of strict social distancing under Directive 16 as officials work to beat an extremely complicated outbreak that has accounted for over 10,000 COVID-19 cases in just a few weeks.