Social distancing continues for Hanoi, HCMC until April 22

By Staff reporters   April 15, 2020 | 02:37 am PT
Social distancing continues for Hanoi, HCMC until April 22
People stand two meters apart from each other per social distancing measures to collect free rice in Hanoi, April 14, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
The social distancing campaign will continue until April 22 in Hanoi, HCMC and 10 other localities deemed to be at high risk of Covid-19 spread.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc made the decision at a meeting with health officials and leaders of the country's 63 cities and provinces on Wednesday afternoon.

The list of high-risk localities could change, he said. It would be decided at another similar meeting next week if their campaign would continue until April 22 or April 30, he added.

The 10 other localities are Lao Cai, Quang Ninh, Bac Ninh, and Ninh Binh provinces in the north; Da Nang City and Quang Nam, Binh Thuan, Khanh Hoa, and Ha Tinh provinces in the center and Tay Ninh Province in the south.

But the 12 localities should not ignore production and infrastructure construction, Phuc said.

Fourteen provinces and a city are deemed as being at risk: Ha Nam, Hai Phong, Thai Nguyen, Nam Dinh, and Lang Son provinces in the north; Nghe An, Thua Thien-Hue in the center; and Binh Duong, Can Tho City, Dong Nai, Kien Giang, Soc Trang, An Giang, Binh Phuoc, and Dong Thap in the south.

The rest of the country is deemed low-risk.

The PM instructed the 15 localities to comply with a directive issued last month, which, among other measures, does not allow gatherings of more than 20 people and requires non-essential businesses to be closed down until April 22.

Since the low-risk localities too harbor possible risks of infection, he ordered local authorities to decide on social distancing measures while strictly following existing pandemic prevention policies.

As part of measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Phuc also instructed relevant ministries to restrict domestic flights until April 30, and not resume visa issuance.

A nationwide two-week social distancing campaign came into effect on April 1 to stem the spread of Covid-19. It required people to stay home and did not allow public gatherings of more than two people.

People could only leave home for emergencies, buying food and medicine or working in factories, production facilities and businesses that involve trade in essential goods and services.

Last month Hanoi and HCMC, the two largest cities and worst hit localities in the country, ordered non-essential businesses such as bars, clubs and restaurants to shut down temporarily.

Vietnam has confirmed 267 Covid-19 cases so far, of which 96 are active.

Hanoi has had 129 cases, 53 of them still under treatment. Saigon has had 54 cases, eight of them now in hospital.

The pandemic has claimed over 126,800 lives and spread to 210 countries and territories.

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