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Saigon's Lockdown to Be Extended, Likely Until End of Month

Hopefully you hadn't gotten too excited about September 15.

VnExpress reports that Saigon's leaders plan to extend the city's lockdown beyond this Wednesday, September 15, the date previously marked by the central government as the deadline for bringing the COVID-19 outbreak "under control."

While exact specifics on the extension are still under discussion, Dương Anh Đức, the city's vice chairman, told a meeting yesterday that restrictions may be eased in areas like Cu Chi, Can Gio and District 7, which have declared their outbreaks controlled. Elsewhere, strict Directive 16 rules will remain in place, and could even be strengthened.

It is not clear what more stringent social distancing orders would look like.

Earlier in the weekend, Nguyễn Văn Nên, secretary of the municipal People's Committee, announced that Saigon would not be able to meet the September 15 deadline and would need more time; at least until the end of this month.

Prior to this, officials had been discussing a "vaccine green pass" system for residents and a phased reopening of businesses and activities starting on September 16. It remains to be seen what impact a lockdown extension will have on these proposals.

Saigon has been under some form of social distancing for over 100 days and remains Vietnam's COVID-19 epicenter, accounting for 298,029 cases and 11,860 deaths since the start of May. In a positive development, the city's average death toll over the first eight days of September fell by 38% compared to the last eight days of August.