Stating that the current strict lockdown should not last forever, Ho Chi Minh City Party chief Nguyen Van Nen has assigned District 7 to pilot the first steps of a reopening to pave the way for the city’s economic recovery in the COVID-19 context.
Secretary Nen made the statement to the press on the sidelines of a meeting with District 7 authorities on Sunday.
“The city is proceeding with an economic recovery plan in 'new normal' conditions and has tasked District 7 with piloting the plan, for the city cannot either stick to the social distancing measures forever or totally get rid of positive coronavirus cases,” Nen said, referring to a stringent lockdown having been in place for weeks.
The city should gradually loosen strict restrictions and turn to a 'new normal' state, drawing on the recovery steps that will be tested in District 7, which has put the pandemic under well control and sharply reduced the death toll, he added.
The Party chief set out the economic recovery plan in the context that the city has been in a one-month extension of strict social distancing measures, which began on August 16, under the prime minister’s Directive No. 16.
The directive bans gatherings of more than two people in public and requires all residents to stay indoors and only go outside with appropriate reasons.
The city had earlier imposed social distancing regulations at various levels since May 31.
For the city to reopen in 'new normal' conditions, the Party leader called on people to remain vigilant against infection risks around them.
“In order to make the plan a success, we need to have enough vaccines and medications, as well as better awareness and habits of residents, who should be well informed to become 'soldiers' in the COVID-19 fight,” Nen said.
People should seriously comply with epidemic prevention rules and ensure their living environment is airy and healthy all the time.
If they are healthy enough and know how to protect themselves, they will be able to self-detect their COVID-19 infection, put themselves in quarantine, and treat and take care of themselves with the support of the health authorities, the Party official said.
The healthcare system must be improved and consolidated to best respond to complicated epidemic developments and protect people’s health.
“We should not keep coping with the pandemic while paying no due attention to economic recovery,” Nen affirmed.
Local authorities will assign scientists, doctors, sociologists, and psychologists to study all issues to be addressed in relation to people and their living environment in the epidemic context.
The Party chief also highlighted the difference between 'normal' and 'new normal' operations.
In a 'normal' state before the outbreak, everybody could freely do what they wanted, but in the 'new normal' period, people must live in conditions that can effectively drive back the pandemic and prevent its recurrence.
"Therefore, we will take steps for the whole city to become active again in 'new normal' conditions, in a slow but steady manner," the Party leader stated.
Ho Chi Minh City has documented 251,934 COVID-19 cases, including 10,452 deaths since the pandemic hit the country in early 2020, the Ministry of Health reported on Sunday evening.
Nationwide, infections have amounted to 524,307 while the death toll has reached 13,074.