|Nguyễn Thị Lệ, chairwoman of the People’s Council, speaks at the opening session of the two-day People’s Council meeting on Monday in HCM City. Photo hcmcpv.org.vn
HCM CITY — HCM City authorities have announced that the country’s pandemic hotspot has contained its largest-ever COVID outbreak and is ready to reopen the economy, Nguyễn Thị Lệ, chairwoman of the municipal People’s Council, said at a meeting on Monday.
Speaking at the opening session of the third People’s Council meeting, Lệ said: “Today I officially announce all 21 districts and Thủ Đức city have been able to control the outbreak, and are ready to enter the ‘new normal’ phase of the reopening.”
Lệ attributed the pandemic prevention achievements to the combined efforts of both the people and city government.
The achievements, however, have come at a high cost as the city has not met its economic targets, she said, referring to the socio-economic situation in the first nine months.
“Prolonged lockdown measures have seriously affected the city’s business and production as well as people’s lives,” she noted.
The Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) is expected to drop by 4.98 per cent in the first nine months and by 5.06 per cent for the whole year compared to the year’s target of 6 per cent.
Total disbursed public investment has reached only 32 per cent of the year’s plan, according to Lệ.
“It will be difficult for the city to meet this year’s economic targets,” she said, adding that budget revenue would not decrease sharply.
The target for the city’s 2021 budget revenue is VNĐ365 trillion (US$16.09 billion) as assigned by the central Government, which means the largest city in the country has to collect VNĐ1 trillion ($44 million) a day.
The meeting will discuss support policies for agricultural extension activities and for personnel in drug addiction treatment at home and in the community.
It also plans to discuss educational support for preschool children, and public and non-public high school students, and others.
Participants at the meeting will elect members of the city People’s Committee, director of the Department of Health, Education and Training, and the chief of the Office of the city People’s Committee.
Lệ said the two-day meeting would also pass a Resolution related to budget revenue, urban planning, and cultural and social-economic fields.
As for the pandemic situation, the number of cases in the city have fallen for two straight weeks. There has been no new infection chain for seven days in any city district.
As of October 17, more than seven million people or nearly 99 per cent of people aged 18 or over had received the first vaccine shot and around 6 million (more than 76 per cent) had received the second shot.
The city will continue to speed up vaccinations and vaccinate children aged 12 to 17, according to city authorities.
HCM City early this month lifted most of its lockdown measures. The city has permitted most businesses to operate with a limited number of people.
Non-essential services and businesses (such as beauty salons, karaoke venues, pubs, bars, massage parlours, cinemas, video game venues, on-site catering services), and street vendors and street ticket sellers have remained closed. Restaurants can only engage in takeaway services.
The city has imposed various levels of lockdown measures since late May. It has had more than 418,000 cases since late April. Around 16,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the city. — VNS