Vietnam plans to test all 9 million people in its largest city for the coronavirus and imposed more restrictions Monday to deal with a growing COVID-19 outbreak. People in Ho Chi Minh city are only allowed to leave home for necessary activities and public gatherings of more than 10 people are banned for the next two weeks, the government announced. Prior to the order, the city, also Vietnam's economic hub, shut down non-essential business last Thursday when cases started to increase, the AP reports. State newspaper Vietnam News said the city authority is planning to test its entire population with a testing capacity of 100,000 samples a day.
At least 145 cases of coronavirus infection have been reported with links to the Revival Ekklesia Mission, a Protestant sect, and the city district of Go Vap, where the church is based, has been locked down. Vietnam has since banned all religious events nationwide. Since the end of April, a surge in COVID-19 has spread to 31 municipalities and provinces in Vietnam with over 4,000 cases, almost double the total number that the country reported since the beginning of the pandemic. Some recent patients in Vietnam were infected with a hybrid of the virus variants first found in India and the UK, the health minister said Saturday. Nguyen Thanh Long said the hybrid might spread more easily and could be responsible for Vietnam's recent surge.