All intercity public buses departing from Ho Chi Minh City will be suspended while passenger buses will also be limited as the southern metropolis joins the nation in entering two critical weeks in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic.
The restrictions started from 00:00 Saturday, March 28, as per options proposed by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport on rearranging transportation for COVID-19 prevention.
Accordingly, all buses traveling between the city and other provinces, such as Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Long An,Tien Giang, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, and Tay Ninh, will be temporarily inactive.
Likewise, 54 out of 132 bus routes in Ho Chi Minh City will also be frozen. The suspended routes are those having a low passenger count and mostly connecting schools and entertainment areas, which are already closed due to the epidemic.
Meanwhile, the 78 active bus routes will have their schedules rearranged and frequency reduced.
Buses must not carry more than 20 passengers or exceed 50 percent of their designed capacity at any given time.
It is recommended that windows be left open and the use of air conditioning be limited on buses. In case air conditioning is used, the temperature must not be set lower than 26 degrees Celsius.
Passenger buses are also limited from Saturday, with buslines asked to slash their number of daily trips by half and limit the number of passengers to no more than 20, or 50 percent of their number of seats, per trip.
The same rule is applied to other commercial passenger vehicles and tourist ships.
Water bus routes are also temporarily closed.
Bus operators, bus stations, ferry and transit stations are asked to keep passengers two meters apart from each other at all times and prevent the gathering of groups of more than ten people.
Taxis and ride-hailing vehicles are allowed to continue operation but their passengers are required to make medical declaration on each trip. Drivers reserve the right to decline offering services if passengers do not follow this regulation.
The use of air conditioning, which should not be set lower than 26 degrees Celsius, should also be limited on these vehicles.
The restrictions are introduced as Ho Chi Minh City further strengthens COVID-19 prevention and control measures to contain the number of cases in the city.
The measures include the closure of all entertainment and amusement centers, restaurants, beer clubs, bars, catering businesses, beauty parlors, and hair salons in the southern metropolis from March 24.
There have been 43 COVID-19 patients in Ho Chi Minh City, three of whom have recovered and been discharged from the hospital.
Nationwide, 169 cases of novel coronavirus infections have been confirmed so far, with 20 having walked out of the hospital free of the virus by Friday.
No death related to the disease has been recorded in the country.