|The HCM City Centre for Disease Control and Prevention staff take samples to test for COVID-19. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vũ|
HCM CITY — HCM City is seeking approval to be removed from the list of 12 provinces and cities at high risk of COVID-19 transmission and instead be placed at a medium risk level after April 22, the vice chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, Lê Thanh Liêm, said during an online meeting held on April 20.
Of the 54 COVID-19 confirmed cases in the city, 51 have recovered and been discharged from hospitals, Liêm said, adding that the city has carried out strict social distancing measures for over 20 days. No new incidences have occurred in the last 17 days.
He said that the nationwide social distancing period from April 1-22 had contributed to the success.
Chairman of the city People’s Committee Nguyễn Thành Phong said the city was in good control of the COVID-19 outbreak and that the city should ease some social distancing measures after April 22.
On April 15, the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control classified 63 localities in the country into high, medium and low-risk groups.
HCM City was among the 12 high-risk provinces and cities. The group includes the provinces of Lào Cai, Quảng Ninh, Bắc Ninh, Ninh Bình (Trường Yên), Quảng Nam, Bình Thuận, Khánh Hòa, Tây Ninh and Hà Tĩnh and three large cities, Hà Nội, HCM City, and Đà Nẵng.
The 15 localities in the medium-risk group include Bình Dương, Cần Thơ, Đồng Nai, Hà Nam, Hải Phòng, Kiên Giang, Nam Định, Nghệ An, Thái Nguyên, Thừa Thiên-Huế, Sóc Trăng, Lạng Sơn, An Giang, Bình Phước and Đồng Tháp.
The remaining provinces are in the low-risk group.
Phong said the city would prepare plans and methods to restart economic activities while continuing to focus on prevention and control activities, including setting up rapid-action forces at the citywide level and in the city’s 24 districts, as well as in 322 communes, wards and towns.
The city would have a 30-day trial reopening period for essential businesses and industries which have a low transmission risk. After the trial period, other businesses might be allowed to reopen.
The secretary of the city Party Committee, Nguyễn Thiện Nhân, told the Department of Education and Training and Department of Industry and Trade to work with the Health Department to establish safety criteria for prevention and control of COVID-19 at schools and supermarkets before April 30.
State offices and companies would develop their own individual policies that could be applied beginning on May 3, he said.
Nhân said that state employees could continue to work from home if it is considered effective. However, state offices should also develop plans and methods to reopen their offices.
The Department of Tourism has completed the establishment of criteria for the tourism industry to resume business. The set of criteria has been sent to the Department of Health for assessment.
Liêm, the vice chair of the People's Committee, has instructed the Department of Culture and Sports to establish criteria for museums, cinemas and entertainment areas.
The Department of Health has developed trial sets of criteria to evaluate risks of COVID-19 transmission at health facilities to limit cross-contamination. The official sets of criteria will be completed on April 24. VNS