Vietnam’s two largest cities of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, in a ‘lower risk’ classification now, have been allowed to end their social distancing campaigns Thursday.
Both cities will begin implementing Directive 15 that allows more relaxed restrictions than Directive 16, which guided the social distancing campaign.
With a couple of districts still having active Covid-19 patients, Hanoi will have more restrictions in place than Ho Chi Minh City.
At a Wednesday meeting of HCMC’s Steering Committee of Covid-19 prevention, municipal Vice Chairman Le Thanh Liem said that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has allowed the city to stop the 22-day social distancing campaign that started April 1.
HCMC is allowed to open shops, street businesses and non-essential services. However, it will still have to follow the Prime Minister’s Directive 15.
While Hanoi can end the social distancing campaign, some areas, like the districts of Thuong Tin and Me Linh, will continue to be deemed “high-risk”, and have to continue implementing the social distancing campaign in full.
The city will continue to prohibit bars, karaoke, restaurants, game centers and tea shops, which typically gather people in large numbers, from opening. Festivals and sport events will also remain paused. People can go out normally but should still do so only when necessary. When going out, they must wear masks and keep a safe distance. Not wearing a mask when going out will continue to be fined.
Transportation such as buses, taxis and ride-hailing services can resume, but the city will set certain restrictions; for instance, on the number of seats that can be filled and should remain empty. All means of transportations need to have hand-sanitizers at hand.
Hanoi hasn’t decided when to resume school for over two million students in the capital city.
The city has recorded 112 Covid-19 cases so far, of which 81 have been discharged and 31 are under treatment. Hanoi hasn’t recorded a new case since April 16.
Living with the pandemic
The Prime Minister said that over the past three months, Vietnam has consistently taken many measures to achieve important and encouraging results. However, people still need to be alert, he cautioned.
“We have applied social distancing properly and promptly, so in the past six days no cases have been detected. Particularly in Ho Chi Minh City, there have been no new cases for 19 days straight,” the PM said.
Phuc said that in the coming time, Vietnam has to accept the situation of living with the pandemic and people should be aware of this.
“Many parts of the world are still infected, so the risk is not over for us. So, adapting to Covid-19 is normal and pandemic control is necessary,” he noted.
In the 22-day distancing campaign for “high-risk” localities that ended Wednesday, all “non-essential” businesses such as bars, clubs and restaurants were ordered to close temporarily.
Of Vietnam’s 268 Covid-19 cases so far, 223 have recovered. The country has recorded no new infection in the last six days.
The pandemic has spread to 210 countries and territories and its reported death toll has crossed 177,600.
By VNExpress staff reporters