Functional forces stationed at checkpoints at 12 entrances to Ho Chi Minh City no longer require commuters to present negative COVID-19 test certificates following Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reports on the inefficiency of the requirement.
A leader from the municipal traffic police department announced the elimination of the requirement on Wednesday afternoon, adding that commuters now only need to submit medical declarations and show vaccination certificates.
Officers on duty at the 12 checkpoints will check health declarations via the VNEID app and certificates of COVID-19 vaccination with at least one dose no less than 14 days prior or proof of having recovered from the disease no more than 180 days before.
The decision followed a slew of complaints by commuters that they had been turned around by officers stationed at the Long Phuoc toll station on the Ho Chi Minh City - Long Thanh - Dau Giay Expressway, a major gateway to the southern metropolis, for not having a negative COVID-19 test certificate.
The motorists criticized the requirement as irrational, pointing out that the same requirement was not applicable to people leaving Ho Chi Minh City, evaluated as a medium-to-high risk locality, for low-risk provinces.
Several epidemiologists also stated their belief that the regulation seemed illogical and should be corrected immediately.
“How come it’s easier to go to low-risk areas from a high-risk area, but more difficult in the opposite direction,” said one epidemiologist.
“The requirement of showing a negative COVID-19 test certificate is unreasonable and should be removed immediately in order to avoid inconvenience and unnecessary procedures."
Speaking on the sidelines of the virtual second session of Vietnam’s 15th National Assembly, Nguyen Sy Quang, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Public Security, said that the city’s traffic sector will monitor vehicles coming into and leaving the metropolis via a license plate recognition (LPR) camera system and random inspection so as to ensure both traffic safety and pandemic prevention in the near future.
Ho Chi Minh City has been the hardest-hit locality since the fourth outbreak began on April 27, with more than 420,000 local infections.
The city had imposed social distancing measures at various levels since May 31 before loosening multiple restrictions on October 1.