|Locals in HCM City travelling on roads in September. The city will allow travel within the city without permits from Friday (October 1). VNS Photo Việt Dũng|
HCM CITY — Residents will be able to travel within HCM City without permits starting Friday while barriers at checkpoints within the city will be removed as the city relaxes stringent lockdown measures, according to a new directive issued by HCM City People's Committee.
The new directive aims to defend against the pandemic while facilitating socio-economic growth and helping residents enter “a new normal”, according to Lê Hòa Bình, deputy chairman of HCM City People’s Committee.
“The city will stop issuing travelling permits and instead apply information technologies to make it less cumbersome for locals to travel. But safety has to be ensured,” he said.
Two mobile applications are currently being used to monitor travel: Y tế HCM (HCM City Health) that certifies vaccination or recovery from COVID-19, and VNEID for online health declarations.
City residents travelling or visiting different establishments, such as businesses, health facilities and public transport, will show their QR codes on smartphone apps or papers (have received at least one vaccine shot more than two weeks prior to entry to establishment or public transport, or have recovered from COVID-19 within the last six months).
Col. Nguyễn Sĩ Quang, deputy director of HCM City Police, said that officials would conduct random inspections on the road and that city residents should fill out online health declarations before travelling.
City residents are not allowed to travel freely outside the city, and if they need to, they must be permitted by the city’s Department of Transport and follow their regulations.
HCM City will maintain its inspection checkpoints across its borders and will check vehicles and travellers' QR codes and other identification methods.
Public transport services can resume operation depending on each area's pandemic conditions, but only at 50 per cent of the vehicle’s maximum capacity.
Bình urged locals not to go outside in large numbers and be mindful of pandemic preventive and control measures.
|A screenshot of the "PC-Covid" app, which will be used to display QR codes for city residents to show when travelling or visiting establishments in the city. — VNS Photo Việt Dũng|
Mobile app for COVID-19 management
HCM City is planning to officially use a mobile app called "PC-Covid", which will be designated as the only mobile app required for the country’s fight against COVID-19.
It will cover many functions related to the pandemic, such as online health declarations and contact tracing, and will contain users’ information on vaccinations and recent COVID-19 tests from other existing applications in Việt Nam.
The COVID-19 cards will be displayed on the PC-Covid app, using one of three colours (green, yellow or red) to certify the user’s vaccination or test status.
The app is available on the App Store and Google Play. Existing Bluezone apps on phones will be automatically updated to become PC-Covid, retaining users’ information.
When the PC-Covid app is officially launched, local residents will use it in place of the Y tế HCM and VNEID apps. Data from the Y tế HCM app will be transferred to the new app.
HCM City is Việt Nam’s COVID-19 epicentre with more than 380,000 cases found. Nearly 7 million of the city’s adults aged 18 and above have received the first COVID-19 vaccine shot, accounting for around 95 per cent of the adult population. Over 45 per cent of the city’s adults have received the second shot.
Bình said the city’s effort in combating the pandemic has yielded positive results, such as reinforced medical forces and a falling number of hospitalised patients and deaths.
However, the pandemic situation in the city is still complicated, and the number of new daily cases and the death rate are still high, he added.
The city will keep a close eye on the pandemic situation, tightening or relaxing social distancing measures appropriately, he said. — VNS