Localities granted social distancing autonomy

By Viet Tuan   April 17, 2020 | 01:20 am PT
Localities granted social distancing autonomy
The street corner outside Hanoi Stock Exchange building is deserted on April 13, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has given provincial and municipal chairpersons authority to decide on appropriate social distancing options and other anti-Covid-19 measures.

A directive to this effect was issued Thursday by the Government Office.

The decisions local administrations can make include the levels of restrictions on residents going outside, on the opening of non-essential businesses, operation of public transportation and large gatherings.

For each decision, local administrations can select one of three levels: require, restrict or recommend.

Provincial and municipal chairs would also get to decide which business and service establishments must remain closed; monitor projects, construction sites and business establishments. They can close down establishments that fail to meet anti-epidemic conditions; and handle outbreaks in their localities.

Local administrations would need to decide whether or not to extend the enforcement of social distancing based on the epidemic’s situation in their area, and they can enforce their decisions at commune and district levels.

The National Steering Committee on the Prevention and Control of Covid-19 will be responsible for instructing and assisting the establishment of quick response teams in all 63 provinces and municipalities; enhancing testing capacity and improving infrastructure of local health systems; and proposing measures to deal with each threshold in infection cases as well as the speed of the infection.

The PM has also added the northern province of Ha Giang to the list of those with medium risk of Covid-19 infections following the discovery of a new case in the province on Thursday.

Out of Vietnam's 63 provinces and municipalities, 12 have been classified as having high risks of infection, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang. Another 16 provinces and municipalities have been listed in the medium risk category and the remaining 35 in the low risk category.

The localities with high infection risks have been instructed to continue implementing social distancing norms until April 22 or April 30.

As of Friday morning, Vietnam had recorded 268 Covid-19 cases, of whom 177 had been discharged from hospitals.

Globally, the Covid-19 pandemic has a reported death count of 146,872 after spreading to 210 countries and territories.

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