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Monday, October 25, 2021

Business associations suggest adjustments for economic reopening strategy

The Saigon Times

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HANOI – Business associations have suggested some adjustments in the Ministry of Health’s temporary guidelines on “safely and flexibly adapting to and effectively controlling Covid-19”.

The temporary guidelines, which were issued by the Ministry of Health on September 26, regulate three criteria for economic reopening in the “new normal”.

Firstly, at least 80% of people aged over 50 must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. 

However, at present, the ministry’s website only contains information about the number of people aged over 18 who have been fully vaccinated. There is no specific vaccination data for those aged over 50.

Secondly, all medical centers of communes, wards and townships must have medical oxygen and all districts must prepare for the establishment of mobile medical stations and teams responsible for taking care of Covid-19 patients in the community.

Thirdly, cities and provinces must formulate plans to establish three-level Covid-19 treatment facilities. Besides, at least 2% of beds at municipal or provincial Covid-19 treatment facilities must be used for intensive care. 

The temporary guidelines also comprise criteria for the assessment of Covid-19 severity levels and related regulations. 

The temporary guidelines once approved by the Government, will significantly affect the recovery of all businesses in the “new normal”.

On September 27, the Private Economic Development Research Board collected recommendations from nearly 20 local and foreign business associations over the temporary guidelines. 

According to the associations, the guidelines need to be significantly adjusted before they are officially issued.

The associations proposed enhancing the role of businesses in safety management teams and pandemic prevention and control committees to promote the public-private partnership in related activities. 

Besides, the guidelines should be consistent for all industries and localities. They should not create more administrative procedures for the people and enterprises. 

To prevent localities from focusing too much on Covid-19 tracing and screening while neglecting economic recovery, the associations suggested that the Government assign specific reopening targets for each locality.

Ministries and departments should work with medical and economic experts to evaluate the deployment of these guidelines to promptly address shortcomings and have suitable adjustments. 

Besides, the guidelines should not overlap the prevailing regulations on Covid-19 infection prevention and control such as the prime minister’s directives No. 15, 16 and 19 and decision No. 2686.

Moreover, the guidelines should specifically modify the travel rights of people that have been fully vaccinated and Covid-19 patients that have completely recovered from the disease. In addition, the Government should learn from the “green pass” models that have been successfully applied in other countries. 

By Lan Nhi

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