Vietnam’s PM extends shutdown of bars, karaoke parlors and other non-essential services

A bar on Bui Vien backpacker street in HCMC's District 1 (Vietnam) remains closed, April 23, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyet Nhi. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

HANOI, Apr 26, 2020, VN Express. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has allowed localities to restore production and business, but several “non-essential” services remain suspended. In a directive issued Saturday following social distancing relaxations, Phuc asked localities to stop all religious gatherings, sports events and crowded festivals in public places, as also other “unnecessary” events, VN Express reported.

Non-essential businesses like bars, karaoke parlors, massage parlors, beauty clinics and entertainment facilities are to remain closed until further notice.

Businesses that can resume operation are wholesale and retail services, lotteries, hotels, accommodation establishments, restaurants and food stalls, but they must ensure anti-pandemic measures including provision of protective clothing for staff, checking body temperature and avoiding close contact.

Localities classified as “at risk” for Covid-19 infections are required to ban gatherings of crowds of more than 20 people. Residents should be encouraged to stay at home and keep minimum distance of a meter between people in public places, down one meter from requirements during the nationwide social distancing campaign.

PM has so asked “low-risk” localities to advise their residents not to leave home without necessity and forbid gatherings of more than 30 people in public places.

Hanoi and HCMC, Vietnam’s two biggest metropolises, Bac Ninh and Ha Giang in northern Vietnam are classified as ‘at risk’ localities. The rest are determined as carrying “low risk” of infection.

The PM has also allowed the resumption of inter-provincial public passenger transportation but passengers and drivers must wear masks and carry out other anti-pandemic measures.

The education sector is required to reduce the number of students in a classroom, adjust class time, lunch and group activities to avoid the gathering of crowds and increase online learning.

Entry restrictions continue

Vietnam continues restricting entry of foreign nationals and those allowed to enter Vietnam must be quarantined for 14 days.

Starting March 22, Vietnam had suspended entry for all foreign nationals, including those of Vietnamese origin and family members with visa waivers.

Only Vietnamese nationals and foreigners carrying diplomatic and official passports such as business managers, experts and high-skilled workers are allowed to enter the country at this time, and all entrants will be quarantined for 14 days.

Phuc said that after three weeks of social distancing campaign that started April 1, the country has detected and controlled major Covid-19 hotspots and limited the rate of infection in the community as well as successfully treated a majority of infected people. No Covid-19 deaths have been recorded in Vietnam so far.

However, the pandemic is getting complicated and the risk of outbreaks is still high, with adverse socio-economic impacts, Phuc stressed.

He said that while localities are allowed to relax restrictive measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic to restore economic and social activities, they should ensure it remains under control, especially in HCMC, Hanoi and other large cities.

During the nationwide social distancing period, gatherings of more than two people in public places were not allowed, and people were required to stay at home except for emergencies, buying food and medicines, and working in factories, production facilities and businesses that involve “essential” goods and services. The campaign was applied between April 1 and 15 in all 63 cities and provinces in Vietnam, and then extended for another week in 12 localities, including Hanoi and HCMC, which were deemed to carry “high risk” of infection.

Vietnam has reported 270 cases of the coronavirus, far fewer than most countries in Southeast Asia and the rest of the world. Of the patients, 225 have been discharged from hospitals.

The Covid-19 pandemic has reached 210 countries and territories with more than 197,300 reported deaths.

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