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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Provinces propose preventing residents in four Covid hotspots from leaving their localities

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Authorities of many cities and provinces in the South and Central Highlands regions have proposed the Government not allow people from the four localities worst affected by Covid—HCMC, Long An, Binh Duong and Dong Nai—to leave their localities after September 30.

Addressing a meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam on September 28, leaders of the southern and Central Highlands provinces said many localities are preparing for reopening after September 30. They worry that if migrant workers in HCMC, Long An, Binh Duong and Dong Nai return to their hometowns on their own, the pandemic would possibly spread widely. 

According to Deputy Minister of Public Security Le Quoc Hung, there are currently 3.5 million migrant workers from across the country living in HCMC, Long An, Binh Duong and Dong Nai, which are the industrial hubs in the southern key economic zone. Among them, 2.1 million people want to return to their hometowns after social distancing measures are relaxed. 

Hung said the Covid vaccination rates in other cities and provinces remain very low. Therefore, they would face a high risk of Covid-19 outbreaks if migrant workers return from HCMC, Long An, Binh Duong and Dong Nai. 

The Ministry of Public Security suggested that these four localities encourage migrant workers not to return to their hometowns after September 30. Meanwhile, these localities need to quickly vaccinate migrant workers, reduce room rentals and living expenses and offer jobs to them. 

Meanwhile, other cities and provinces should have plans to bring their residents home, especially the elderly, pregnant women, children and vulnerable people. 

A representative of the Ministry of Health said following the directives of the prime minister, the ministry has prioritized Covid vaccines for HCMC, Long An, Binh Duong and Dong Nai despite the limited resources. Therefore, the Covid vaccination rates in other cities and provinces remain low. 

As such, migrant workers in these localities should not return to their hometowns on their own. Those allowed to return home must undergo compulsory quarantine as stipulated in prevailing regulations. 

The special team of the prime minister agreed that inner-city or inner-province travel restrictions can be relaxed but travel between localities should still be put under strict management. 

The special team also suggested the prime minister continue prioritizing Covid vaccines for HCMC, Long An, Binh Duong, Dong Nai and their neighboring localities. 

In the coming month when the vaccination coverage is significantly enhanced, inter-provincial travel restrictions would be eased. 

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