Panic shopping in Vietnam’s largest city ahead of tougher Covid lockdown

HANOI: Vietnam’s plan to ban Ho Chi Minh City residents from leaving their homes from Monday sparked panic buying in the epicenter of its worst coronavirus outbreak.

The rush to buy is hurting efforts in the country’s largest city to contain the spiraling COVID-19 epidemic, the official Vietnamese news agency said.

Long lines of people were seen outside markets and supermarket shelves in Ho Chi Minh City were emptying on Saturday, witnesses and official media said.

“It looks chaotic,” said one person who only gave his name to Nguyen in District 2 of the city.

“Too many people are rushing to buy food and essentials for their difficult days ahead,” she told Reuters. “I managed to buy food because I don’t want to starve before I die from the coronavirus.”

Vietnam said on Friday it would also deploy troops to the city to enforce the lockdown and deliver food to citizens, as the city takes drastic measures to slow the coronavirus death rate.

Vietnam has recorded 323,000 coronavirus infections and 7,540 deaths, with Ho Chi Minh City accounting for more than half of cases and 80% of deaths, according to the health ministry. – Reuters