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Apr 23, 2020 / 11:22

Vietnam lifts coronavirus restrictions, reopens economy

Vietnam is urged to focus on manufacturing, job creation, and trade of goods but some non-essential businesses are required to stay shut.

Vietnam has started to reopen the economy on April 23 after three weeks of social distancing that has helped slow corornavirus contagion with no new coronavirus cases reported for seven straight days.

 Vietnam eases social distancing after three weeks. Photo: Laodong

After a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Wednesday, no localities are categorized as “high risk” and the restrictions on business and other activities imposed on April 1 will be largely eased, but several non-essential services remain closed.

The PM asks localities and ministries to facilitate the economic recovery with a focus on production, trade of goods, and job creation, urging people to keep vigilance on the pandemic and accept a “new normal” of living with the disease.

The Ministry of Transport plans to increase the number of domestic flights from April 23 throughout the month-end. As such, the number of flighs on the Ho Chi Minh City-Hanoi route will be raised to 20 a day, some flights per day for routes among big cities and only one for other localities.

Culture, sports, and entertainment activities remain totally banned while requirements on wearing face masks at public places, practicing social distancing, and no crowd gathering remain intact.

The PM empowers heads of cities and provinces to decide which sectors and services to return to normalcy on the condition that they follow infection control measures.

 Hanoi during the social distancing period. Photo: VNA

Hanoi, with the highest number of coronavirus cases, partly reopens the economy with the operations of non-essential services, restaurants and cafés, but low-cost sidewalk cafés are asked to stay shut. Transport is partly back to normality with the permission of taxi and ride-hailing services but with only 20-30% of the total capacity.

“Hanoi will have a lower alert level, but not all measures will be removed; rather, they will be phased out gradually,” Nikkei cited Nguyen Duc Chung, chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee.

Ho Chi Minh City, the city without new cases over the past 20 days, has gradually removed restrictions and allowed most of non-essential services to be back to operations.

The central city of Danang allows civil servants to return to offices. Eating out and outdoor sports activities are permitted while intercity buses and taxi work again without checkpoints but medical health quarantine at airports, ports, and railway stations remain effective.

Some localities have planned to reopen schools from May 4.