The Vietnamese Ministry of Transport has asked relevant agencies to forbid all four-wheeled commercial passenger vehicles while keeping only a handful of domestic flights and railway trips a day to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The ban and restrictions were detailed in a document issued by the transport ministry on Tuesday, guiding the implementation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s directive on social distancing the same day.
Accordingly, the ministry charged the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam with working with airlines to coordinate only two round trips a day between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, one round trip a day between Hanoi and Da Nang, and one round trip per day between Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang, from April 1 to 15.
All other domestic passenger flights are suspended during the period, while cargo flights are not restricted.
The Directorate for Roads of Vietnam is responsible for directing all provincial and municipal transport departments to consult their respective administrations about banning all four-wheeled commercial passenger vehicles for 15 days, from April 1 to 15.
The ban applies to long-haul passenger buses, buses, contracted vehicles, tourism coaches, and taxicabs.
Exceptions include vehicles on official duties and those used for supplying food and basic essentials, companies’ shuttle buses, and vehicles transporting production materials and goods.
The provincial and municipal transport departments also have to direct local bus stations to strictly suspend all inter-province and intra-province passenger buses.
The Vietnam Railway Authority is tasked with directing the Vietnam Railways and rail transport enterprises to suspend all local passenger trains for 15 days from Wednesday.
Passenger trains are restricted to only one round trip a day between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, while there is no restriction on rail freight transport.
The Vietnam Maritime Administration and the Vietnam Inland Waterways Administration shall cooperate with localities in halting boats transporting passengers from the mainland to islands during the 15-day period.
Cargo ships remain unaffected by the restriction.
The local transport departments are required to consult respective People’s Committees in special cases, the transport ministry said.
|A passenger bus is parked at a bus station in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, Vietnam. Photo: Le Dan / Tuoi Tre|
Le Tien Dung, director of the transport department of Can Tho, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Tuesday that the Mekong Delta city will strictly implement the Ministry of Transport’s guidance.
Dung said that taxis and boats in the city will only be allowed to transport patients in need of emergency care.
On the same day, the transport departments in the Mekong Delta provinces of Dong Thap and Kien Giang also issued urgent notifications regarding the passenger transport bans and restrictions.
The southern provinces of Tay Ninh, Binh Duong and Dong Nai, the north-central provinces of Ha Tinh and Nghe An, and many other provinces and cities have also made the same move.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the municipal transport department has clarified that the ban “includes contracted vehicles with less than nine seats that apply technology,” referring to cars operating ride-hail services.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, Grab said it was suspending all four-wheeled services including GrabCar and GrabTaxi in all provinces and cities of Vietnam from April 1 until the end of April 15.
Its delivery service GrabFood is to be suspended in Da Nang from April 2 to 15.
“Grab believes this decision will contribute to the joint effort in combating the COVID-19 pandemic together with the public and the Vietnamese Government,” the statement reads.
Meanwhile, Da Nang has asked to minimize the number of vehicles entering the city, and halt all entries from localities with confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection, with exceptions for vehicles on official duties and essential businesses, according to the Da Nang administration’s online portal.
Vietnam has confirmed 212 COVID-19 infections, with 63 patients having fully recovered.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Tuesday issued a directive requesting the implementation of social distancing from April 1 to 15.
The premier declared COVID-19 a nationwide infectious disease pandemic on Wednesday.