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HCMC pays dearly for stringent Covid restrictions: Council chair

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – HCMC has paid dearly for draconian Covid-19 restrictions, said chairwoman of the municipal People’s Council Nguyen Thi Le, citing a gross regional domestic product (GRDP) decline, lower-than-expected public investment disbursement and failures to achieve key targets.
At the 10th HCMC People’s Council’s third meeting on October 18, Le said the pandemic had been raging in the city over the past five months, leading the city to enforce stringent social distancing measures, which have made life extremely hard for businesses and residents, the local media reported.

As for the city’s socioeconomic performance in the January-September period of this year, the city’s GRDP tumbled 4.98%. It was forecast to plunge 5.06%, while the city’s target was 6% growth.

In addition, the public investment disbursement reached 32% of the year’s plan. The city may fulfill just 11 out of the 29 key socioeconomic targets for this year and fail to achieve 13 targets, while five other targets cannot be assessed at present.

Le added the city’s budget revenue this year would not fall sharply but the city would find it hard to meet the budget revenue collection target. Early this year, the city was assigned to collect VND365 trillion in revenue.

During the third meeting, the HCMC People’s Council said it would assess the city’s fight against the pandemic and its January-September socioeconomic performance as well as plans for the final months of the year.

The council will discuss and approve the mid-term investment plan using the city’s budget in the 2021-2025 period, the HCMC-Moc Bai expressway project and support policy for kindergarten and high-school children.

Le affirmed that the city had basically brought Covid under control and has got ready to adapt to the new normal.

As of October 18, the city had recorded nearly 418,700 Covid-19 cases. The city’s single-day caseload fell to a three-digit number from a four-digit number at the height of the fourth wave of Covid, and the number of Covid-19 deaths per day dropped to a double-digit number from an earlier three-to-four-digit number.

Moreover, nearly 99% of residents 18 and older in the city have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and over 76% of them have been fully vaccinated.

The city’s healthcare system has also improved and Covid-19 treatment facilities have operated at an average capacity of 22%.

Under the municipal government’s Directive 18, some socioeconomic activities in the city have resumed in safe areas since October 1.

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