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Vietnam curbs movement in southern areas as Covid-19 cases hit record

HANOI: Vietnam will impose travel restrictions in 16 southern provinces for two weeks from Monday as the country faces its worst Covid-19 outbreak to date, the government said on Saturday.

Vietnam has managed to maintain a relatively low incidence of coronavirus thanks to targeted mass testing and strict contact tracing, border controls and quarantine measures, but new clusters of infections in recent weeks have raised concerns among health officials.

“The current outbreak we are facing is becoming more complex,” the government said in a statement. “Curbs are designed to protect human health.”

The Southeast Asian country reported 3,718 new infections, the highest daily increase, and has recorded over 3,000 cases for the third day in a row.

Three quarters of the confirmed cases have been identified in the southern regions, especially in Ho Chi Minh City, and the health ministry said it has deployed at least 10,000 health workers to the hard-hit provinces.

Vietnam, with a population of 98 million, has reported 47,904 infections and 225 deaths.

The current surge in incidence has increased pressure on the government to increase the supply of vaccines and speed up vaccinations, with fewer than 300,000 people fully vaccinated so far.

Vietnam has received nearly 9 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, and the US Embassy in Hanoi has said the United States will provide Vietnam with an additional three million doses of Moderna vaccine through the international COVAX program. – Reuters

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