Vietnam stops social distancing restrictions in several high-risk localities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from today (April 23), allowing certain, but not all, non-essential businesses to reopen while state agencies were cautioned to remain vigilant.

Vietnam is ending its 22-day social distancing campaign, easing but not fully stopping restrictions
(Illustration photo: Zing)

Restrictions on movement are being gradually eased as Vietnam tries to restart the economy without bringing back the disease. The authorities also downgraded Hanoi into a medium-risk locality.

Along with Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Bac Ninh, and Ha Giang provinces are also in the medium-risk category.

59 other localities are in the low-risk group.

Health authorities, on the other hand, urged vigilance, warning new clusters could still emerge at any time. Particularly, some clusters like Thuong Tin and Me Linh districts of Hanoi are considered high-risk areas and require draconian measures to contain the virus, said the cabinet leader at a government meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

Ho Chi Minh City – the largest city in the country – signals that some non-essential services such as shops or small restaurants and some other retail businesses are permitted to return to normal operations, said Vice Chairman Le Thanh Liem at the city’s Steering Committee of COVID-19 prevention on Wednesday.

Notwithstanding, social gatherings of more than 20 people in one place and gatherings of 10 or more outside workplaces, schools, and hospitals are still limited. A minimum distance of two metres between people in public places should be maintained.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc cautioned the public not to go out to celebrate loosened social distancing restrictions.

Activities like festivals, sports events involving lots of people, as well as operation of bars, karaoke venues, massage parlours, beauticians, flower shops, and zoos are still suspended, according to local newswire Vietnam News Agency.

A growing list of businesses announces that they would end or ease their work from home policies, requiring employees to return to the office.

A few localities are moving to reopening their economies, but authorities confirm they would keep guard to ensure social distancing rules are observed.

Nothwithstanding, schools have yet to reopen and are still implementing online classes.

In the 22-day distancing campaign from April 1, major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City were the hardest hit. Local authorities were required to ban non-essential businesses such as bars, clubs, and restaurants to from opening.

As of April 22, Vietnam has reported 268 positive cases, with a total of 223 people declared healthy and released from hospital and without a single death. The country has also gone six straight days without detecting a new case.

Ho Chi Minh City reported no new cases for 19 consecutive days.

However, it could still be some time until the control measures are removed completely, experts warn.
Source: VIR
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