|Workers of Poyun Vietnam Company make a line and keep a distance from each other to go to the canteen. — VNA/VNS Photo Mạnh Minh|
HẢI DƯƠNG — Normal life has returned to Hải Dương Province after more than two months struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social distancing was officially lifted on Thursday in the northern province, once the biggest COVID-19 cluster in Việt Nam.
Students have returned to schools and workers have returned to factories. Coffee shops and restaurants are reopened and the whole province is getting used to the "new normal".
Lê Hải Anh, a Hải Dương City resident, reopened his coffee shop on Thursday morning and was glad to see the number of customers was 10 times higher than a day before when only takeaways were allowed.
To attract more customers and compensate for revenue losses after a long time of closure, he has renovated the shop, added more drinks to the menu and offered takeaway discounts.
“The shop pays attention to disinfection and requires staff to wear face masks,” he said.
Returning to school on Thursday after a long time, more than 1,000 students of Thạch Khôi Primary School in Hải Dương City were excited to meet friends and teachers in person.
All classrooms were sterilised before welcoming students back. Students have their body temperatures checked and are required to sterilise their hands before entering school.
Nguyễn Thị Hạnh, the school’s principal, said students learn for half a day and go back home. The school hasn’t run day boarding classes.
In Hưng Đạo Commune, Chí Linh City, which recorded the first COVID-19 community case in Hải Dương’s outbreak in late January, life in the new normal is a dream for everyone after 60 days of fighting non-stop with the pandemic.
Vũ Huy Đăng, chairman of the commune People’s Committee, said local authorities updated COVID-19 new cases twice a day at 9am and 3pm to timely detect new infections and report to the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control.
The outbreak in Hải Dương over the past two months recorded a high number of infections among Poyun Vietnam Company workers.
As the pandemic has been contained in the province, on Thursday, more than 1,200 workers of Poyun Vietnam returned to the factory after being tested for the coronavirus twice.
Worker Mừu Văn Trọng said: “We faced a lot of difficulties when production suspended during the pandemic. We all felt excited when the lockdown was lifted and we were able to get back to work.”
Chen Shu Ming, who leads a team of workers at Poyun, said: “We found that the best way to protect ourselves is to wear face masks and keep a distance between each other while eating. The company gives a bottle to each worker for personal use.”
Workers in some sections wear spit-shielding masks. Meal times have been extended to ensure not too many workers eat at the same time.
A representative of Poyun Vietnam said after halting production, the company was facing difficulties due to a lack of labourers. Although the company had taken anti-virus measures, workers were still worried and had not all returned.
The company wants the Government to give permission to vaccinate the workers so more of them feel safe and return to work.
According to Hải Dương authorities, the province has more than 350,000 labourers working at 14,000 businesses. About 95 per cent of local businesses have resumed operation.
Recovering production and preventing the virus are their dual tasks after the resumption.
At businesses that recorded infections, special COVID-19 working teams are still on duty to detect new possible cases.
Local authorities said the province would not neglect prevention methods and would stick to COVID-19 protocols.
Outdoor food stalls and non-essential services such as massage parlours, pubs, karaoke parlours, game centres and movie theatres will be suspended until April 15 across the province.
In Kim Thành Commune, which still has 28 community cases, markets and restaurants are ordered to be closed until April 10.
Local residents said that was a proper decision to completely contain the pandemic in the commune. — VNS