Traffic on Hoàng Văn Thụ Street in downtown HCM City on October 1, 2021. — VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Tình
HCM CITY — HCM City has updated its directive on reopening the economy, putting residents’ safety first.
Phan Văn Mãi, chairman of the city People’s Committee, said: “The city will gradually ease the social distancing measures, but it will put residents’ safety first under the health ministry’s pandemic prevention guidance.”
People can travel within the city, but not to other provinces and cities. The city will keep 12 checkpoints at its gateways and 39 other checkpoints at city entrances.
The updated directive restates the “dual goal” of continuing to contain the outbreak and revitalise the economy from October 1.
The city will continue to strive to reduce the number of hospitalisations and deaths by consolidating the health system, especially at the grassroots level.
The directive aims to bring people’s lives back to a new normal, but people must remain highly cautious of the long-term fight. They are asked to continue to strictly implement 5K prevention measures.
While waiting for the official launch of a national unified COVID-19 prevention and control app, people will need to use a QR code for movement declaration on the “VNEID app” and a QR code showing vaccination status on the “HCM Health app” or on the electronic Health Book.
If there is no QR code, people must present a COVID-19 certificate of recovery within the last six months or a certificate showing the person has received at least one vaccine dose for the two-dose vaccine at least 14 days prior.
The national app “PC-Covid” Việt Nam was made available on the iOS App Store and Android’s Google Play Store for smartphones on Thursday. It replaces Bluezone, the previous contact tracing platform.
But it is still in the Beta phase. Smartphone users who installed Bluezone can head to the respective app stores to update PC-Covid with full functions, available in both English and Vietnamese.
Phan Văn Mãi, chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, speaks at a meeting about the updated Directive on Friday. VNA/VNS PhotoPC-Covid will become the single app for all COVID-19 prevention and control activities in the country.
It also provides a “COVID-19 card” to users who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the disease, enabling them to travel and join social activities in the new normal period.
Major functions of the app include showing “COVID-19 card” status, making health declarations, searching for COVID-19 vaccination information and testing results, supporting movement tracking, showing a map of risks, and providing news on overall pandemic prevention and control strategy.
After being available for download on Thursday morning, many users complained of long-delayed OTP codes to activate their profiles/accounts, lack of vaccine status, and other bugs.
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 nearly 400,000 cases since late April. Nearly 15,000 people have died of the virus in the city. — VNS
Services permitted under Directive 18
State agencies and social and political organisations and others will resume normal operation beginning October 1. 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.
Production, trade, business and service activities will be allowed as long as they ensure pandemic prevention measures, including food and drink for delivery or takeaway only, indoor hairdressing salons (operating at half of capacity), traditional markets, wholesale markets, shopping centres, stores for stationery, textbooks, and other learning equipment, mechanics, electronics and home appliances, and construction works.
Religious establishments will be allowed with a maximum of 10 people, or 60 people if at least 90 per cent of the participants are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID.
Resorts, hotels, motels, tourist attractions can operate at up to 50 per cent of their capacity provided that guests have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the disease or have a negative test for SARS-CoV-2 within 72 hours of the test result.
Other cultural, gymnastics, sports and competition events will be permitted with a maximum of 60 people provided at least 90 per cent of participants are fully vaccinated or have recovered from the disease, which must be authorised by a competent authority.
Wedding and funeral services will be allowed with specific conditions.
Indoor services will allow gathering of up to 10 people, or 60 people if at least 90 per cent of participants have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID. Outdoor services will allow gathering of up to 15 people, or 90 people if at least 90 per cent of participants have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the disease.
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.
Outdoor activities such as daily physical exercise activities will be allowed with a maximum of 15 people at the same time or up to 100 people if all of them 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 60 people if 90 per cent of participants 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.