Vietnam has partially lifted its lockdown but extended the restrictions for at least another week on the hotspot cities of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang. (writes Taylor Edgar.)

Nine other provinces have been similarly classified as high risk and will continue with confinement measures until April 22 at least.

The cities of Can Tho and Hai Phong, along with 13 provinces, meanwhile, have been declared ‘at risk’, with the remaining 36 provinces in Vietnam considered “low-risk” localities. Both categories are to observe relaxed infection control for another week.

As of yesterday (April 15), there were 268 COVID-19 infections in this SE Asian country. Ninety-seven COVID-19 cases are still active. However, close to twice that number, 171 people, have made full recoveries and been discharged from hospital; 23 in one day this week alone. No COVID-19 deaths have been recorded.

After the revised measures were announced, it also emerged that some 20,000 hospitality workers in Ho Chi Minh City have been furloughed or laid off.  The dramatic 26% downturn in foreign tourism is to blame. A further 8,000 staff are on short-time working.

Four Vietnamese, meanwhile, have been jailed for assaulting local COVID-19 task force members who were enforcing social distancing regulations. Yesterday two men were imprisoned in central Vietnam for nine months and a year, respectively.  Courts in the north the day before imposed identical sentences on two men who assaulted officials after being challenged for not wearing face masks in public.

It is being reported this afternoon (Thursday April 16) that an American man faces deportation after falsely claiming to be COVID-19 positive. Police believe the American concocted his COVID-19 story because he had run out of money and wished to find free food and accommodation.

The recommendation of the police in the northern port city of Hai Phong is that the unemployed English teacher is fined and deported for overstaying his visa when international flights recommence.