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Vietnam lifts distancing rule on planes, public transport

Thursday, May 07, 2020, 11:43 GMT+7
Vietnam lifts distancing rule on planes, public transport
Passengers wear face masks on a bus in Hanoi. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport has removed all regulations regarding social distancing on buses, taxis, long-haul coaches, trains, boats, and aircraft that had previously been enforced to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The decision took effect from 0:00 on Thursday, following a decision issued by the National Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on Wednesday.

The epidemic is now under control in Vietnam and the risk of community spread has decreased, the committee assessed, adding that no new cases in the community have been recorded over the past 20 days.

This new decision allows all transport businesses in the country to resume their normal operations at 100 percent of their seat capacity.

However, employees and passengers are still required to comply with certain rules to minimize the risk of infection.

Accordingly, wearing face masks is mandatory at stations and terminals as well as throughout the journey. 

All employees and passengers are also expected to regularly wash their hands with soap or sanitizer and travelers must fill out health declaration forms.

The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 3.82 million people and killed more than 265,000 globally, according to Ministry of Health statistics.

Vietnam’s COVID-19 tally stands at 271, with 232 having made a recovery, 12 having retested positive, and no fatalities as of Thursday morning. 

In early April, the Ministry of Transport forbade 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 disease.

The ban was eventually lifted at the end of last month, as public buses, taxis, and long-haul coaches came back on stream across the country.

Operators were previously required to keep passengers one meter or one seat apart in each vehicle as part of COVID-19 prevention measures.

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