National-scale social distancing is not a lockdown and the Government is still in control of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mai Tiến Dũng, Minister and Chairman of the Government Office, said on Tuesday afternoon.
The statement was made following Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s urgent order on a wide range of stringent social distancing measures on Tuesday morning, which restricts people from leaving their homes and bans gatherings of more than two people in public for 15 days, starting from Wednesday, April 1.
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Depending on the developments of the disease, the Government will issue further warnings and orders at suitable levels, Dũng said, adding it needs a detailed preparation and roadmap to effectively implement solutions in response to the pandemic.
According to Dũng, the Government is allowing factories to continue operating, yet asks offices, State agencies and companies to let employees work from home.
The Government Office has enabled 300 officers – accounting for 50 per cent of its workforce – to work online. Those who have to work in the office are requested to stay at least two metres from each other, Dũng said.
Leaders of offices, companies and factories are fully in charge of ensuring safety for their employees. If a worker is infected with the virus, the whole factory will be closed immediately to stop cross and community infection, the Government’s spokesman stressed.
Explaining why the lockdown order has not yet been imposed, he said the Government is still in control of the situation, therefore, it was essential to maintain production of goods and socio-economic activities.
“Everyone should stay home during this peak period and avoid going outside, as the current situation is different from four days ago,” said Dũng.
“If we miss the golden opportunity [to contain the disease], the development will be worse. The Government understands that people and businesses may feel these measures are strict and inconvenient, however, we hope everyone will comply, as fighting the disease needs the solidarity of both people and authorities,” he added.