Vietnam's COVID-19 Deaths Climb to 207 Amid Errors in Reporting
2021-07-15 -- COVID-19 deaths in Vietnam now total 207 dating from the beginning of the pandemic last year, with 140 of these recorded in southern Ho Chi Minh City alone, according to state media sources.
Discrepancies in reporting have caused confusion in the tally, though, with Vietnam's Ministry of Health apparently slow to update figures, sources say.
On July 15, the Ministry said that 69 deaths had been recorded in Ho Chi Minh City from July 16 to 15, raising the former Saigon's total to 140, but statistics had not been regularly updated during that period on the Ministry's website, Vietnam's Tuo Tre newspaper said.
According to a report by the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee, 130 people had died in the city -- Vietnam's largest, with nine million people -- by July 14, but the Ministry of Health had reported only 48 on that date, the newspaper said.
Replying to reporters' questions, a Ministry official said that discrepancies in numbers might have been caused by late updates sent by hospitals to the Ministry. The difference of almost 100 deaths reported in a one-day period was noteworthy, though, he said.
Dating from the beginning of the pandemic in January 2020, Vietnam has recorded a total of 38,858 local transmissions of COVID-19 and 1,992 cases imported from other countries.
During the latest outbreak of COVID-19 in Vietnam dating from April to July 15, the country has recorded 37,288 according to state figures.
Call for cameras
On July 15, the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee sent an urgent dispatch to the city's districts, calling for cameras to be installed to detect violations of social-distancing measures in areas currently under lockdown.
Many city districts have now set up hotlines for local people to report violations and get updated information on the pandemic and on measures aimed at prevention and control of the disease, and drivers, workers, and staff loading and unloading goods will now be prioritized for COVID-19 testing, official sources said.
Directive 16, now in force, restricts local people from leaving home except for basic necessities such as buying food or medicine or going to work.
Top priority must now be given to pandemic prevention and control, Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chanh told officials of 27 southern Vietnamese provinces and cities, which are home to many industrial and processing zones, in an online meeting on July 15.
Factories halt work
Tech, garment, and footwear factories across the southâ€”including companies owned by Taiwan and South Koreaâ€”have suspended operations in recent weeks, due to COVID-19 outbreaks among their workers, slowing the export of goods important to Vietnam's economy, news reports said.
Saigon Hi-Tech Park, a Vietnamese electronics factory complex, closed after more than 750 workers tested positive, and now requires its employees to live on-site. Smartphone manufacturer Samsung has also closed three of its 16 factories in Vietnam and cut its workforce by half.
South Korean-owned shoemaker Changshin Vietnam has halted work at three factories in southeastern Vietnam's Dong Nai province, and Taiwan's Eclat Textile Co. has suspended operations in Dong Nai after cases of infection were discovered among its workers.
Shipments of COVID-19 vaccine continue to arrive in Vietnam, though the number of vaccinated people, around four percent of the population, in the country remains low, state media sources said. At least 3,859,995 people have now received their first shot, with 286,772 having received both.
On July 15, Vietnam received a batch of 921,400 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, the fourth batch of an eventual 30 million dose deal, from its UK-based manufacturer. Vietnam has also received batches of US-manufactured Pfizer and Moderna, China-manufactured Sinopharm, and Russia-manufactured Sputnik V vaccines.
Vietnam has set a target date of late March 2022 for completing the vaccination of over 70 percent of its population of nearly 99 million.
Reported by RFA's Vietnamese Service. Translated by Anna Vau. Written in English by Richard Finney.
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