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Traffic jammed over new declaration system at COVID-19 checkpoints in Ho Chi Minh City

Traffic jammed over new declaration system at COVID-19 checkpoints in Ho Chi Minh City

Sunday, August 15, 2021, 14:43 GMT+7
Traffic jammed over new declaration system at COVID-19 checkpoints in Ho Chi Minh City
Traffic is clogged up at a COVID-19 checkpoint on Phan Dang Luu Street, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City, August 14, 2021. Photo: M.H. / Tuoi Tre

The abrupt enforcement of a new movement declaration system at COVID-19 checkpoints in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday baffled the majority of commuters and clogged up traffic flow for hours.

The novel movement declaration requirement, devised by the Ministry of Public Security and considered part of the national population database, was simultaneously introduced at COVID-19 checkpoints in the city around 1:00 pm on Saturday.

This is meant to keep track of people's travels in case contact tracing is needed to stall coronavirus spread.

As witnessed by a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper correspondent, all commuters passing these checkpoints would be pulled over and could only leave when they scanned a QR code on their phones, completed their movement declaration online, captured a new QR code, and presented it to checkpoint officers to see if it matched the database.

A police officer in Ho Chi Minh City guides a motorbike rider on how to complete health declaration, August 14, 2021. Photo: M.H. / Tuoi Tre

A police officer guides a motorbike rider on how to complete movement declaration in Ho Chi Minh City, August 14, 2021. Photo: M.H. / Tuoi Tre

A police officer in Ho Chi Minh City guides a motorbike rider on how to complete health declaration, August 14, 2021. Photo: M.H. / Tuoi Tre

A police officer guides a motorbike rider on how to complete movement declaration in Ho Chi Minh City, August 14, 2021. Photo: M.H. / Tuoi Tre

The steps were deemed rather complicated and time-consuming by the public due to a variety of reasons, including the reduced sensitivity of mobile phone cameras for QR scanning under broad daylight, or the lack of Internet connection at checkpoints. 

Several officers were ill-prepared for their duties, as the batteries on their mobile devices died while they logged commuters’ information.

“Some senior citizens had their smartphones with them, but did not know how to declare the information on the apps and required officers' help,” an checkpoint officer explained.

“Some individuals took as long as 15 minutes to complete their declaration.”

The unoptimized process impeded traffic flow, causing lines of delayed vehicles to snake out as far as a few kilometers. 

On Phan Dang Luu and Le Van Duyet Streets in Binh Thanh District, hundreds of motorbikes were seen struggling to inch toward the checkpoints, where officers were still strictly upholding the declaration protocol. 

A police officer in Ho Chi Minh City guides a motorbike rider on how to complete health declaration, August 14, 2021. Photo: M.H. / Tuoi Tre

A police officer guides a motorbike rider on how to complete movement declaration in Ho Chi Minh City, August 14, 2021. Photo: M.H. / Tuoi Tre

An app-based delivery worker presents a QR code he got after completing health declaration in Ho Chi Minh City, August 14, 2021. Photo: M.H. / Tuoi Tre

An app-based delivery worker presents a QR code he got after completing movement declaration in Ho Chi Minh City, August 14, 2021. Photo: M.H. / Tuoi Tre

“Residents can scan the QR code and declare their information at home," said Senior Lieutenant Colonel Huynh Thi Thu Trang, a senior official at the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Public Security.

"They will receive another QR code, which they can save to their phone and use for the next three days.

“When passing the checkpoints, they only need to bring up the QR image so officers can instantly check their information, reducing processing time and avoiding congestion.”

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