|A checkpoint on Nguyễn Văn Khối Street in Ward 9 in Gò Vấp District was removed on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the HCM City Press Centre|
HCM CITY — The country’s pandemic hotspot HCM City has officially announced plans to gradually reopen its economy from October 1.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Lê Hoà Bình, vice chairman of the city People’s Committee, said all inner-city checkpoints would be removed on October 1 and people would be able to travel without a paper permit within the city but not to other provinces.
The city will maintain 12 checkpoints at its gateways and 39 other checkpoints at the city’s entrances to prevent the spread of the virus to other cities or provinces with low vaccination rates.
The number of COVID-related deaths in the city has been dropping, and the number of discharged patients has exceeded the number of hospitalised patients.
More than 95 per cent of adults aged 18 and above have received at least one vaccine shot and 45 per cent two shots.
Eleven districts have “basically contained” the outbreak such as Củ Chi, Cần Giờ, Nhà Bè, Tân Bình, 1, 3, 5, 7, Gò Vấp, Phú Nhuận, and Thủ Đức City.
“The awareness of people and businesses has improved,” Bình said.
The city, however, will take great precautions as the situation remains challenging due to the high number of new cases detected daily and the high death rate, he said.
Another risk is the low vaccination rate in provinces in the Southern Key Economic Region, while the rate of second-dose vaccination in HCM City is still low.
“The new directive aims to bring people’s lives back to new normal, but people must remain highly cautious of the long-term fight,” he said.
According to the new directive released on Thursday, State agencies and social and political organisations and others will resume normal operation beginning Friday.
Heads of State agencies will decide on the number of civil servants returning to offices under the criteria for pandemic prevention.
Consular offices and international organisations, including foreign economic and cultural offices whose headquarters are located in the city, will decide on working methods and the number of staff to be allowed at the office. They must meet the requirements of the Ministry of Health and city government on pandemic prevention.
Public and private medical hospitals, medical service facilities, and pharmaceutical, cosmetics, medical supply and equipment establishments will resume normal operation.
Other services allowed to reopen include food and drink for delivery or takeaway only, indoor hairdressing salons (operating at 50 per cent capacity), traditional markets, wholesale markets, shopping centres, stores for stationery, textbooks, and other learning equipment, mechanics, electronics and home appliances, and construction works.
Museums will be allowed to receive visitors with a maximum of 10 people at a time if they meet criteria for prevention measures.
Other cultural, sports and competition events will be permitted with a maximum of 70 people provided that 100 per cent of participants are fully vaccinated or have recovered from the disease, which must be authorised by a competent authority.
Daily physical exercise activities will be allowed with a maximum of 15 people at the same time or up to 100 people if 100 per cent of them are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID.
Wedding and funeral services will be allowed with the participation of up to 20 people.
Education and training activities must continue to be conducted online until all teachers and students are fully vaccinated. Schools must ensure safety criteria as prescribed by the health ministry.
Religious establishments will be allowed with a maximum of 10 people, or 70 people if all of the participants are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID.
Indoor activities such as meetings, training sessions and seminars will be allowed with a maximum of 10 people, or 70 people if all of them are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID.
Outdoor activities will be allowed with the participation of no more than 15 people, or 100 people if all of them are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID.
Non-essential services and businesses (such as beauty salons, karaoke venues, pubs, bars and massage parlours, cinemas, video game venues, on-site catering services) will remain closed.
In addition, street vendors and street ticket sellers will continue to be banned.
Việt Nam has shifted from its initial zero-COVID strategy to “living safely with the virus”.
The city has imposed various levels of lockdown measures since late May. On August 23, the city imposed the toughest measures, ordering people to “stay where they are” except for emergencies.
It has recorded more than 380,000 cases, accounting for nearly half of the country’s total infections, since late April. Some 35,000 patients are currently being treated. Nearly 15,000 people have died of the virus in the city. — VNS
|A field market set up in District 5 during the lockdown period. The market will become a model for other districts in the near future. Photo courtesy of the HCM City Press Centre|