Vaccine coverage in focus as HCMC eyes Oct. 1 reopening

By Huu Cong   September 27, 2021 | 07:30 pm PT
After four months of social distancing at different levels, HCMC plans a gradual easing of restrictions starting October 1, premised primarily on vaccine coverage.

In a draft plan sent to district authorities for feedback Monday, the municipal administration said starting October 1, the city will ease Covid-19 restrictions gradually depending on the pandemic situation.

Production and business organizations that need to have employees on site can resume operations on the condition that all of them have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months; in other words, "green pass" holders. They will also have to follow all Covid-19 prevention measures regulated by the Ministry of Health.

The plan allows most businesses to resume operations, maintain restrictions.

On the list of those that can resume operations starting Oct.1 are:

- Production facilities inside industrial parks, export processing zones, hi-tech parks in 21 districts and Thu Duc City as well as the Quang Trung Software Park in District 12;

- Cooperatives and households engaged in agricultural, forestry and fisheries production and trading, agricultural production support services, and veterinary practice;

- Traffic and construction works;

- Facilities providing medical examination and treatment, rehabilitation, physical therapy, establishments trading in pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and equipment, hospitals and clinics providing aesthetic services, general and specialized clinics.

- Firms engaged in the supply of food and foodstuffs, petrol stations, chemical traders, electricity and water, fuel, repair and maintenance service providers, public and security service providers, public utilities like water drainage, environmental sanitation, environmental monitoring and treatment, and maintenance of public parks and trees, technical and transportation infrastructure.

- Foreign representative offices, credit institutions, bank branches, treasury, business establishments directly related to credit activities, logistics, securities, notaries, lawyers, bailiffs, businesses providing auctioning, commercial arbitration, commercial mediation, legal advice and other judicial services.

- Post and telecommunication services, publishing, businesses using e-commerce platforms; books and stationary stores, libraries, galleries, art exhibitions, photography services, businesses providing school supplies, tools, eyewear products and informatics equipment.

- Warehouses and facilities for stockpiling, gathering, and transiting goods, supporting services for transporting, exporting and importing goods; commercial centers, supermarkets, convenience stores; grocery stores, goods retail establishments, wholesale and traditional markets.

A mobile Covid-19 vaccination station in Go Vap District, HCMC, August 14, 2021.  Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

A mobile Covid-19 vaccination station in Go Vap District, HCMC, August 14, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

Restaurants and eateries, meanwhile can only continue to serve takeaways, unless they are authorized by competent authorities to provide onsite services.

Hair salons can resume operations at half capacity.

Museums, resorts and establishments providing sightseeing tours can resume activities at 30 percent of their capacities but can only serve customers with the green pass.

Sports events must be held at a maximum scale of 30 percent of full capacity and all participants must be green pass holders.

Residents can engage in physical exercises but all such activities can have no more than 50 in one place if all participants have the green pass. Otherwise, the number of participants must be limited to 10.

Weddings can gather up to 50 people, funerals up to 20 and both activities must be supervised by local health workers.

The city continues to let all schools hold online classes, for now.

Public passenger transport by road, rail, and waterway can resume operations at half their maximum capacity.

Transportation of goods between HCMC and other localities can operate as usual, but all parties must ensure Covid-19 prevention measures and all drivers must present a QR code that allows them to travel on specific routes.

Activities and businesses that continue to be suspended include bars, spas, karaoke and massage parlors, beauty care services, on-site catering services, cinemas, discos, video games, events, cultural, artistic, religious events, launching ceremonies (unless permitted by competent agencies), street vendors, including lottery ticket vendors.

A police officer scans a QR code to check if a woman is out on the street in line with HCMCs rule on social distancing, August 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

A police officer scans a QR code to check if a woman is out on the street in line with HCMC's rule on social distancing, August 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

The draft plan also proposes the resumption of several domestic and international flight routes to and from HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat Airport.

Organizations and individuals will be allowed to hold gatherings both indoors or outdoors, but not more than 50 at an event with all participants having the green pass. Without the green pass, gatherings cannot have more than 10 people.

Residents allowed to go out from October 1 will be those who have got at least Covid-19 vaccine shot in the last 14 days and those who have recovered from Covid-19 in the previous six months.

Twelve Covid-19 checkpoints will maintained across the city, apart from 39 checkpoints at all city gateways.

In the ongoing Covid-19 wave that hit Vietnam late April, HCMC has recorded over 375,800 infections (accounting for almost half of the national tally) and spent more than 100 days under various levels of social distancing.

The city has vaccinated more than 95 percent of people over 18 years old with the first shot and is speeding up administration to cover all adults with the second dose.

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