At 7 a.m. Monday, the Covid-19 checkpoint on Nguyen Kiem Street of Go Vap District was jammed shut as HCMC entered its fourth day of social distancing.
The road is the main route connecting Go Vap District and District 12 to downtown areas.
"My company does business in transport and logistics so we're allowed to operate during the social distancing period. I expected there would be traffic jams this morning so I got up early, but we still had to wait for nearly half an hour to pass the checkpoint," said Minh Hoang, holding his company approval letter.
A driver was allowed to pass using an entry card proving he works at a hospital.
According to the social distancing order, identity or employee cards alone would not allow one to pass a checkpoint. But as it is a one-way street, it is impossible for vehicles to turn around so police officers had to let people through anyway.
"We instruct these people to take a different route to turn around, because even if they decided to press on, they would encounter another checkpoint and would not be able to continue," said a police officer.
By 8 a.m., traffic grew increasingly hectic as vehicles began to pour out on Nguyen Kiem Street, jamming the road for nearly a kilometer.
In other parts of the city, many Covid-19 checkpoints also encountered similar problems. At the checkpoint on Dinh Bo Linh Street, authorities also checked approval papers for those traveling from Thu Duc City into downtown HCMC.
Anyone without the required papers are instructed to make their way to National Highway 13 and turn around.
Ho Chi Minh City, the nation's largest coronavirus hotspot, began a 15-day social distancing order starting July 9. People are required to stay home and only go out for basic necessities such as buying food or medicines or to work at factories or businesses allowed to remain open.
Since the fourth coronavirus wave broke out in late April, the southern city has recorded 14,435 local Covid-19 cases.
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