|Hà Nội traffic police direct way for people from southern provinces returning to their hometown in northern mountainous provinces. — VNA/VNS Photo Phạm Kiên|
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has pledged support measures to help migrant workers who are desperate to return to their hometowns after many months of severe lockdown in the southern provinces.
Over the past several days, provinces and cities have tried to organise safe passage for the thousands trying to return to their home provinces in the north, but problems have occurred.
The main obstacles have been managing the huge crowds, who are often travelling in convoy, along the long road north. Many travellers are the elderly or children, carrying their worldly possessions on old motorbikes unfit for purpose.
The official dispatch No 1314/CĐ-TTg, issued on Thursday, said that after a long period of Directive 16 social distancing, many people in HCM City and southern provinces want to return to their hometowns. This is a legitimate desire that should be facilitated, but if not well organised it risks COVID-19 spreading to many localities throughout the country.
To control the pandemic, while ensuring that people can safely return to their hometown, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính requested that:
1. Provinces and cities ensure that the transportation of people is facilitated faster and more smoothly, without causing congestion at the control checkpoints.
2. In localities where the pandemic has not been completely controlled, but social distancing has been relaxed, authorities should actively encourage people to remain in place for now. For those who still want to return to their hometown, the authorities must notify the relevant authorities at the destination, so arrangements can be made.
At gateway checkpoints to provinces or cities, those trying to return to their hometown must ensure epidemiological safety at all times. Those manning these checkpoints must contact the authorities at the intended destination and arrange safe means of transport for those without vehicles, or the elderly, pregnant women and children in need.
3. Provinces and cities along the route of travel are responsible for coordinating traffic and logistical support, if necessary. The destination province and city are responsible for taking measures to ensure pandemic prevention and control is adhered to.
4. The Ministry of Health (MoH) will allocate vaccines, giving priority to the provinces that have the most people returning from pandemic areas. The MoH and the Ministry of National Defense Support will also be on hand to support any localities that discover new COVID-19 cases as a result of returnees from the south.
Reports from Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces showed that in the past few days, each province has received thousands of people returning from HCM City, Bình Dương, Đồng Nai and Long An.
Testing has discovered some COVID-19 cases. An Giang province received 40,000 people, of which 190 tested positive. Kiên Giang Province received 32,000 people and 122 of them were positive.
HCM City offers support
On Thursday, the HCM City Department of Transport began offering support to those wishing to return home. Those in need can register on the department’s portal.
The request must be made at least two days before departure. Those requesting assistance will be sent an email by the department, informing them if their request has been successful. If their application is not accepted, the department will explain the reasons why.
The southern city of Cần Thơ has issued their own guidance to people returning from pandemic areas; those who have received two doses of vaccine, or recovered from COVID-19 within the last six months, can supervise their health at home.
People that have only received one dose of vaccine must self-quarantine, though they will be provided with 15kg of rice per person.
People that have yet to receive any vaccine must go to collective quarantine centres for 14 days. They will be provided with financial support of VNĐ80,000 (US$3.5) per person per day.
The city has 37 collective quarantine centres which can receive more than 6,300 people.— VNS