Hanoi will extend its ongoing social distancing order for another 15 days, starting from 6am on August 8 to 6am on August 23, according to a document issued by the municipal People’s Committee today (August 6).

The decision is made after the municipal authorities warned of new clusters of coronavirus infections detected in the city and the fresh coronavirus outbreak is yet to show signs of abating.

Over the past two weeks, Hanoi has ordered its local residents to stay at home and halted all non-essential activities, but a three-fold rise in the number of infections has prompted the city to extend the current measures, which were due to end on August 7.

 A deserted street around the Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi downtown amid the city’s Covid-19 social distancing order. Photo: Cong Tho

Although Hanoi has been placed under 15-day social distancing measures starting 6:00 am on July 24, some 60 new Covid-19 cases have been detected in the city a day on average together with several clusters, including several wholesale markets and supermarkets.

The citywide shelter-in-place order was issued under the Prime Minister’s Directive 16, which provides the country’s most stringent social distancing regulations, requiring residents to stay at home and only go out for basic necessities such as buying food or medicines or to work at factories or businesses that are allowed to open.

This is the second time that Hanoi will impose the stringent social distancing order with the first being in April 2020, which lasted for nearly a month.

Hanoi city has reported 1,762 local Covid-19 infections since the fourth coronavirus outbreak struck Vietnam in late April, according to the municipal Department of Health.

“The risk is still high with the continuous detection of new clusters of infections, the sources of many of which have remained unidentified,” the health department said.

It added that Hanoi’s vaccination campaign is still at an early stage. Some 1.1 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the city of 8.5 million people, but only 74,000 local residents have been fully vaccinated with two doses.