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As National Cases Surpass 100,000, Saigon Imposes Night Curfew, Restricts Movements

With daily new cases in the thousands, Saigon has imposed additional levels of movement restrictions on top of the most severe lockdown since the pandemic began.

As of 6am today, July 26, Vietnam recorded 2,704 more confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the national tally to surpass 100,000 at 101,113 cases, according to data reported by VnExpress. Of all local cases, 97,370 were identified in the current outbreak that started on April 27.

While the number of recoveries has also increased recently, so has the number of deaths. Yesterday, 1,755 COVID-19 patients recovered, bringing the national number to 19,334 recoveries. So far, Vietnam has recorded 524 fatalities due to the coronavirus.

To further reduce intra-city movements, Saigon authorities announced a curfew starting from today, July 26. Citizens are strongly discouraged from leaving home after 6pm until 6am the next day. During restricted hours, only medical emergencies and pandemic prevention efforts are allowed in Saigon.

From this week, municipal traffic police will increase instances of stop and search on shippers, according to Chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee Nguyễn Thành Phong. In the daily pandemic meeting on Sunday, Phong said that there have been cases in which locals borrow branded jackets of ride-hailing companies to leave the house without valid reasons.

Moving forward, he said that logistic firms must submit a list of employed shippers and their operating zones to city departments of commerce and transport. Registered shippers will have to wear a badge with personal particulars to deliver goods in the city, and the police will check their work apps to ensure that the delivery orders are valid.

For essential services not operating via apps, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, employers must also provide shippers with a similar badge, but shippers for such businesses are only allowed to deliver within their district.

Moreover, shippers are only allowed to deliver goods deemed essentials. Over the weekend, a deliveryman for electronic device chain Dien May Xanh was fined in District 1 as law enforcement officers did not consider refrigerators essential.

Under new regulations, trucks and vans over 2.5 tons are only allowed to travel in the city during the time windows: from 8am to 4pm and 8pm to 6am the next day. Less heavy trucks can travel round the clock, though all trucks must register for a “green lane” travel certificate with a QR code.