HCM City to relax social distancing restrictions ‘no sooner than September 15’

September 06, 2021 - 16:43
HCM City has developed a long-term plan to “live with the virus” as part of its effort to gradually reopen the economy “no sooner than September 15”.


Nguyễn Văn Nên, secretary of the city's Party Committee, speaks at a meeting with District 7 authorities about a pilot programme to gradually open up the district's economy. VNA/VNS Photo

HCM CITY — HCM City has developed a long-term plan to “live with the virus” as part of its effort to gradually reopen the economy “no sooner than September 15”.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Nguyễn Văn Nên, secretary of the city's Party Committee, said: “Based on the current pandemic situation, we can neither have zero community cases nor strict lockdown measures forever.”

“The city must gradually open up the economy and find ways to live safely with the virus.” 

Nên said the city would focus on getting life back to normal as soon as possible but no sooner than September 15, stressing that this would be done “safely and effectively”.

“We have to live with the virus as we have to live with floods. It is important to know how to swim and have a life jacket to ensure safety,” he said.

“To do this, the city is providing vaccines and medicine to residents,” he said, adding it was also vital to raise citizens’ awareness about the battle.

“We can’t just focus on the pandemic fight without paying attention to production,” he said. “The city will resume its dual goal of fighting the pandemic while ensuring socio-economic development as soon as it can.”

The city is developing an economic recovery plan based on science and the experiences of other countries. “It has assigned a team of scientists, doctors, sociologists and psychologists to study all related issues in order to be able to safely live with the virus,” he said.

A city pilot programme that will gradually open the economy will begin in District 7 and Củ Chi District, which have been able to contain the outbreak, according to the Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The city is also speeding up its pace of vaccinations. It targets having 100 per cent of people aged 18 and over vaccinated with at least one dose by the end of the month, and two doses by the end of the year.

Speaking at an online meeting with 63 provinces and cities on Sunday, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính, who is head of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, said that cities and provinces should develop scenarios for reopening the economy based on the specific situation in their areas.

The PM has ordered cities and provinces that have contained the outbreak to ensure goods and raw materials in order to gradually restore production.

Cities and provinces that fully vaccinate 70-90 per cent of their population should also draw up scenarios for reopening their economies, he added.

He asked cities and provinces to continue to practice social distancing measures while ensuring food and clothing for people in need. People must have access to health services in communes, wards and townships in a timely manner, he added.

Many international experts have said living with the virus is a reality, and not an option, as it will become endemic. To live safely with the virus, most of the world’s population should be fully immunised (80-90 per cent of the population), and more effective drugs should be used for treatment, experts have said.

HCM City has been under lockdown since August 23. It has recorded a total of more than 251,400 cases since the fourth wave. — VNS