Hanoi: 15 people found in a refrigerated truck fleeing Covid-19

The group was trying to reach their homes in Vietnam's central region. Internal flights and road links to the southern provinces, most affected by the pandemic, have been suspended for months. Lack of vaccines: health authorities have authorized diverse second doses.

Hanoi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - At least 15 people, including a seven-year-old boy, were found inside a refrigerated truck: they were trying to leave the southern areas of the country, the most affected by Covid-19. 

"We knew it's a huge risk and it's very dangerous to be inside a refrigerated truck, but if we had been infected with the virus we would have run a greater risk," a man traveling with his seven-year-old son told local media. 

According to the report by Binh Thuan province police, who stopped the vehicle at a checkpoint, the truck had left from the southern province of Dong Nai, an industrial zone that has recorded more than 35,000 cases of coronavirus and at least 320 deaths.

The province has been in total isolation since early July, and makeshift hospitals have been set up in several cities to treat tens of thousands of infected patients. The people in the truck were trying to reach their homes in central Vietnam, and when discovered by police they showed they were physically exhausted from the journey: some were sweating and short of breath.

Vietnam has suspended all road and air links to the south of the country. Ho Chi Minh City, considered the center of the epidemic, since yesterday has extended the restrictions until the end of the month, although in the districts where there are fewer infections people can go out to eat in restaurants. In the capital Hanoi the total lockdown has been in force since July and yesterday the civil aviation has proposed to the Ministry of Transport a resumption of domestic flights. 

The rate of vaccinated population remains very low. Only 24% have received a dose and among them only 5.2% have completed the vaccination cycle. On September 12, the mayor of the capital spoke of the need to speed up the vaccination campaign to "reopen the city." Over the weekend, health workers administered one million doses; due to a shortage of supplies, the country's health authorities authorized the combination of different vaccines.

Cases in Vietnam soared in late June. Yesterday, the country reported more than 11,000 new cases and 381 deaths. There have been 15,660 deaths since the pandemic began.