All four-wheeled commercial passenger vehicles will remain suspended in Ho Chi Minh City as the southern metropolis enters one more week of enhanced social distancing in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The extended suspension was detailed in an urgent notification issued by the municipal Department of Transport on Wednesday evening, following the government’s decision to prolong the social distancing period in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, and nine other provinces by another week from April 15.
The three big cities and the nine provinces of Lao Cai, Quang Ninh, Bac Ninh, Ninh Binh, Quang Nam, Binh Thuan, Khanh Hoa, Tay Ninh, and Ha Tinh are labeled as “high-risk” localities most susceptible to a COVID-19 outbreak.
According to the Ho Chi Minh City transport department’s notification, all long-haul passenger buses, buses, contracted vehicles, tourism coaches, and taxicabs will stay banned from 00:00 on Thursday, April 16, until the end of April 22.
Previously, the ban had been in place from April 1 to 15 as per a Ministry of Transport request.
The suspension does not apply to vehicles on official duties and those used for supplying food and basic essentials, companies’ shuttle buses, and vehicles transporting production materials, goods, and people in medical emergencies.
All these exempted vehicles have to be disinfected before picking up and after dropping off passengers and must not carry more than 50 percent of their designed capacity.
All drivers and attendants on these vehicles have to comply with regulations on health declaration, handwashing, and face mask wearing.
|Motorbike riders working for different ride-hail firms gather on the sidewalk of a street in Ho Chi Minh City in this undated photo. Photo: Q.An / Tuoi Tre|
The city’s center for public transport management is tasked with informing local transportation enterprises and residents of the extended ban.
Inter-province bus terminals and traffic inspectors in the city are requested to together closely monitor and ensure the implementation of the travel restriction.
In compliance with the notification, ride-hail firms have announced that they will continue suspending their four-wheeled services.
Particularly, Grab Vietnam has halted GrabCar, GrabCar Plus, GrabCar for Business, JustGrab, GrabTaxi, and GrabRent from Thursday.
Its inter-province booking Grab Tinh and fixed-route trips Grab Tuyen are also suspended.
Grab’s two-wheeled food delivery service GrabFood remains in operation in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang while its motorcycle rideshare service GrabBike is kept active only in the latter two cities.
On Thursday morning, a representative of Vietnamese ride-hail firm Be Group said the company will maintain the suspension of its rideshare services beCar and beNow, inter-province services, and its vehicle rentals in Da Nang, south-central Khanh Hoa Province, southern Dong Nai Province, and Ho Chi Minh City until April 22.
Like Grab, Be Group has temporarily dropped its motorbike rideshare service beBike in Hanoi while keeping beBike and food delivery service beFood active in Ho Chi Minh City.