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Sunday, October 24, 2021

HCMC extends mobility restrictions until Sept 15

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The current stringent anti-pandemic measures in HCMC will be extended until September 15, said HCMC Chairman Phan Van Mai, adding that residents in coronavirus-free areas would be allowed to go shopping once a week.

The draconian stay-at-home mandate started on August 23, banning all residents from going out from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and only allowing people with a mobility permit to go out for work or service in the Covid-19 fight. It was originally scheduled to expire on September 6.

At a meeting of the municipal Party Committee on September 6, Mai said the city’s forces and the forces coming from the central agencies and other provinces would remain unchanged. However, some adjustments will be made in certain areas depending on the situation, the local media reported.

Besides allowing residents in safe areas to go shopping once a week, the city has opened goods transit points at the Binh Dien and Hoc Mon wholesale markets.

In addition, districts 7 and Cu Chi can allow residents to visit wet markets twice a week if they meet the anti-virus requirements. The city also allowed takeaway services in these districts.

Mai said the city would focus on formulating a plan to fight the pandemic and help the economy recover after September 15.

The municipal government has established a steering committee to come up with the plan. Before September 15, the steering committee must devise the plan and the city can gradually resume activities and ease restrictions step-by-step.

The city will continue intensifying testing in line with the Ministry of Health’s guidance. It will also test those working at checkpoints.

Mai asked Thu Duc City and districts to increase testing in the community to detect positive Covid cases by September 15.

As for the vaccination, districts should focus on inoculating vulnerable people, such as the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, pregnant women and those participating in socioeconomic activities. The city assigned the Department of Health to study groups of people who can leave home in the foreseeable future.

The municipal chairman stressed that the competent agencies must closely control the Covid cases confined to their homes, show them how to take care of themselves and promptly provide them with medicines and medical oxygen to prevent them from getting worse.

Moreover, the city will open more branches of national intensive care centers in the city to enhance the Covid treatment capacity in a bid to reduce the death rate.

Mai also asked the Department of Health to direct medical centers to register their demand to mobilize those who already recovered from Covid to join the fight against the pandemic and quickly train them to support the treatment of other patients.

As for welfare policies, Mai said some two million households with 5.3 million residents were in urgent need of relief aid.

The municipal government has proposed providing each of these residents with VND750,000 per month. Departments, agencies and districts must review and make a list of disadvantaged residents before September 15.

The city will provide the aid in September and October and will reconsider the plan based on the developments of the pandemic.

Speaking at the meeting, secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Van Nen said since August 31, the city’s Covid fatalities had dropped. Many pandemic clusters had been brought under control and the lockdown in many areas had been lifted.

Until September 15, the city must prepare to safely live with Covid-19 and ensure social welfare for residents.

Nen also required accelerating the vaccination, especially in districts 3, Go Vap, Binh Tan and Tan Phu.

The city has chosen districts 7 and Cu Chi to pilot the new normal after September 15.

Activities must not be resumed if plans have yet to be worked out and medical safety must be the first priority, Nen noted.

The municipal government has also issued Directive 11 enhancing social distancing and anti-pandemic measures in the city to try to bring the pandemic under control before September 15. However, daily new cases have remained high. For example, HCMC as the country’s current epicenter of the pandemic, reported 7,122 cases yesterday (September 6), compared to the country’s total of 12,477.

Working teams in wards, communes and towns should be established to check, remind and encourage residents to strictly comply with anti-pandemic regulations, go shopping for residents and develop social welfare policies.

The teams will also enhance control over residents traveling on streets during the social distancing period.

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