On January 27, the first community COVID-19 case in Hai Duong province’s Chi Linh City was detected – Patient 1,552 – a worker in close contact with a woman who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 after arriving in Japan.
According to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, Chi Linh city was the largest outbreak in the country since the pandemic began early last year with 383 confirmed cases out of 684 cases reported in Hai Duong province.
The outbreak started at a company with more than 2,300 workers and then spread to the community, which caused difficulties in controlling the infections.
As the outbreak was gradually controlled, Hai Duong province’s authorities decided to end the lockdowns and province-wide social distancing, entering a “new normal” phase with twin tasks of drastically fighting the coronavirus and taking action for socio-economic development.
Secretary of the Hai Duong Provincial Party Committee Pham Xuan Thang applauded efforts made by authorities, health experts and people in fighting the pandemic, particularly contributions of people on the front lines.
Besides lifting the lockdown in Chi Linh city and Cam Giang district and the end of province-wide social distancing, the Hai Duong Province People’s Committee on March 2 decided to divide the localities in the province into two groups under different restrictions depending on the COVID-19 risks.
Until March 17, four high-risk localities, including Hai Duong city, Kinh Mon township, Cam Giang district and Kim Thanh, will be placed under the Government’s Directive 15, the highest level of social distancing first introduced in March last year when the country entered nationwide lockdown. The directive prescribes limiting large gatherings, meetings with over 20 people in-doors or 10 people outdoors, maintaining two meters distance between individuals in public places, non-essential services are shut down, public passenger transport is halted, and travel is heavily restricted.
The remaining eight localities in the province will follow the less restrictive Government’s Directive 19 on social distancing norms.
Hai Duong will continue to halt festivals, religious rituals, sporting events and other unimportant events that require large gatherings in public.
Hai Duong now has about 11,000 such teams with the participation of about 25,000 members.
Then, authorities need to assess the connection between the other areas and the areas where outbreaks happened.
Each locality in the province should also review their preventive measures and strictly follow the Health Ministry’s ‘5K’ message as the pandemic was still developing worldwide. Provinces with industrial zones like Hai Duong were always more vulnerable to disease risks.