Saigon Lockdown: Day 6 Thoughts

Expat Life Jul 15, 2021

Today Saigon made it to Day 6 of the Directive 16 Lockdown.  With temperatures rising to 35 Celsius a couple days ago, getting used to the lockdown has not been easy. Saigon has already been under Directive 15 since May and a stricter Directive 10 since June. Yes, it gets confusing. Below is a link to the graphical illustration on the differences of Directives:

One difference for Directive 16 is that restaurants cannot do deliveries now. Yes, there are interpretations of this ruling by several F&B establishments. GrabMart is operating so you can still get food items from minimarts such as Family Mart. Lalamove is one of the main competitors that will benefit with Directive 16. Unlicensed home deliveries and "Facebook restaurants" are benefiting by skirting local laws. That will be topic of a future post for me here.

Over 2200 new cases in HCMC yesterday

This number is not surprising at all. It should spike for a couple more days. The day before the lockdown, Saigon became quite busy with people buying groceries. Below is a photo from my area in District 1. Social distancing measures were not abided as people were storing food for the 15 days. At my local market, the employees were following social distancing. We had a short line before getting in.

Motorbikes crowed on De Tham street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
The day before Directive 16 was to be implemented. Many people were stocking up so the streets were quite busy. This looked like a normal Saigon day on this part of De Tham in District 1.

Yesterday that changed. Tuesday night I was informed that I should buy a week's worth of groceries. The rumor was that all deliveries will be halted today. The rumor was later deemed as fake news by the media but in the morning, I felt it would be better to buy some more food. I walked to my local market and saw this long line (photo below). I decided to wait one hour. Social distancing was being observed and the weather was nice. After one hour, a police officer and government employee came, we all had to leave.

The line at my local grocery store. I waited one hour and then most of us had to leave.

Yes, it was frustrating but with Directive 16, you just need to adapt. I did some shopping at Family Mart and then my friend sent me some vegetables. Having friends in the city is a must these days and I got some good support the last couple of weeks.

Testing and Vaccine

Over a week ago there was testing in my area. After waiting 4 days, the health department decided to test vulnerable areas first. I am not sure when I will get tested. We had two lockdown areas near where I live but they have since opened up.

For the vaccine, well nobody knows when they will get it. I will get mine paid by the Veterans Affairs in the US, I just need to find a way to get the vaccine. Some Expats seemed to have been able to get vaccinated. Vietnam expects to be 70% vaccinated by April/May of next year. I think they will accomplish this task much sooner. It is Vietnam, when Vietnamese set their minds to a task, they are amazing.

9 more days to go

Lets see what happens. I suspect Directive 16 will be relaxed and replaced by Directive 19 in 9 days. Lets hope.

Stay safe, wear a mask, wash your hands and observe social distancing at all times.


Vietnam News Agency just reported 69 new deaths today due to complications related to Covid-19 just for Ho Chi Minh City today. That is devastating news. The World needs to be pressured to send more vaccines to Vietnam ASAP.



A Japanese Amerasian's Journey from the Caspian Sea to Vietnam. I am a RPCV Kazakhstan and a former US Marine. I am also the Tech, Social Media & Marketing guy for Baba's Kitchen.

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