Vietnam's central government has approved Ho Chi Minh City’s proposal to continue following social distancing measures under the prime minister’s Directive No. 16 till the end of September.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh agreed that two more weeks under extensive social distancing is necessary for the southern city to put the COVID-19 pandemic under more effective control, according to secretary of Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Van Nen.
The city opted not to relax restrictions as a majority of its districts have yet to meet the criteria for pandemic containment by September 15, as initially targeted in a recent resolution of the national government, Nen said at a conference on Tuesday afternoon.
Nen emphasized that the reopening of economic and social activities in districts that have claimed their control over the virus outbreak must be done carefully, step by step, without risk-taking and complacency.
The municipal Party chief requested the districts' authorities to find out the factors that decided the success and failure of their locales in controlling the pandemic.
He urged the unsuccessful districts to put more efforts to achieve the target, while suggesting the ‘safety first’ motto in implementing plans for the gradual economic resumption in successful districts.
Ho Chi Minh City has been in an extension of strict travel restrictions since mid-August, under the prime minister’s Directive No. 16.
The directive bans gatherings of more than two people in public and requires all residents to stay indoors and only go outside with appropriate reasons.
The city had earlier imposed social distancing regulations at various levels since May 31.
It remains the gravest COVID-19 epicenter in Vietnam with 309,787 local infections, accounting for approximately half of the country’s 630,661 community transmissions since the fourth virus wave’s emergence on April 27.
Vietnam has reported 635,055 patients, including 398,461 recoveries and 15,936 deaths, since the COVID-19 pandemic first struck early last year.