Panic buying ahead of tighter lockdown in Ho Chi Minh City

HANOI • Vietnam’s plan to prohibit residents of Ho Chi Minh City from leaving their homes starting tomorrow has triggered panic buying in the epicentre of its worst coronavirus outbreak.

The scramble for purchases is hurting efforts in the nation’s largest city to contain the spiralling Covid-19 outbreak, said the official Vietnam News Agency.

Long queues of people were seen outside markets and shelves at supermarkets in Ho Chi Minh City were emptying yesterday, said witnesses and state media.

“It’s looking chaotic,” said a person who gave her name only as Nguyen in the city’s District 2.

“Too many people are rushing out to buy food and essential stuff for their hard days ahead,” she added. “I have managed to buy some food as I don’t want to die from hunger before dying from coronavirus.”

Vietnam said on Friday that it would also deploy troops in the city to enforce the lockdown and deliver food supplies to citizens, as the city turns to drastic measures to slow a spiralling rate of coronavirus deaths.

Vietnam reported 11,321 coronavirus infections yesterday, a record daily tally. Most of the new cases were detected in Ho Chi Minh City. The country has recorded 336,700 infections and at least 7,540 fatalities overall.

“The city is ready with measures to supply food and essential goods for the residents,” Mr Phan Van Mai, deputy head of the city’s coronavirus task force was quoted as saying.

Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party on Friday announced a decision to replace Mr Nguyen Thanh Phong as chairman of the city’s People’s Committee. It did not give a reason but analysts cited his poor handling of the outbreak.


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