Workers who stay on the premises of their companies at the Tân Thuận Export Processing Zone in HCM City’s District 7 get a second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine on September 5. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vũ
HCM CITY— HCM City will continue with its social distancing restrictions if the COVID-19 outbreak remains uncontrolled, Phan Văn Mãi, chairman of the city People’s Committee, has said.
Replying to questions from the public on a programme called ‘People ask- HCM City Authorities answer’ on Monday (September 6), he said: “The relaxing of social distancing restrictions depends on the development of the outbreak. We cannot say specifically September 15, the end of this month or October.
“If relaxing social distancing restrictions does not ensure the safety and health of the city’s people, it is not helpful. Based on new COVID-19 incidence, severe cases and fatalities in each area, the city will decide which areas and service industries will be allowed to operate.”
Health and epidemiological experts are drafting criteria to help the city assess the date of reopening.
Mãi said the city would also consider vaccination coverage, and is focusing on vaccinating the population.
The city was carrying out social distancing and focusing on testing to detect new cases in the community and treat them in time, he said.
In future the city would have to “live with the disease” and was preparing for it, he added.
The lockdown continues until September 15, and the city is seeking to expand the supply of goods to communes and wards.
In red zones, or extremely high-risk areas, delivery services buy food and other essential goods and deliver them to residents, while in areas deemed to be free of transmission risk, or green zones, people are allowed to go to supermarkets once a week.
The city encourages people who have got two shots of vaccines to go to supermarkets.
Moreover, in the green zones, the city will trial the opening of food stores but only with takeaway by September 15.
After September 15, if the outbreak is under control, it will allow stores selling medical devices and equipment and construction materials, petrol stations and others to reopen, and construction works to resume.
Supporting daily necessities and cash
If the outbreak continues after September 15 the city will provide disadvantaged people affected by it 15 kilogrammes of rice a month, cash assistance and subsidies on electricity, water and rent.
It has earmarked VNĐ4.8 trillion (US$210.7 million) from its resources along with VNĐ1.2 trillion donated by organisations and individuals for the purpose.
It has instructed local authorities to speed up disbursement of its second social welfare package, whose deadline was September 6, and update the list of disadvantaged people.
Those who failed to get the relief should contact their ward or commune authorities, Mãi said.
He apologised to those affected by the delay.
The city would instruct local authorities to use An sinh, an application meant to support disadvantaged people and ensure no one is overlooked.
Policies for supporting enterprises
The city authorities know that enterprises, especially small and medium-sized ones, face a shortage of capital and human resources that makes it difficult to resume operations.
They have urged the State Bank of Vietnam to reduce loan interest .
The city also plans to roll out policies to subsidise rental, electricity and water costs for production facilities.
Many blue-collar workers have returned to their hometowns and are unable to come back to the city even if they want to, and city authorities plan to work with provinces to find a solution.
Mãi said it would speed up vaccination for workers, especially at small and medium-sized enterprises.
The city has enough vaccines to provide the first shot to 90 per cent of its population.
Mãi said people who had not yet got a shot should contact local authorities.
The city had also worked with the Ministry of Health to ensure it would have enough to provide the second shot, and so the public should not worry about it, he said. VNS