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HCMC to extend strict social distancing after Sept 15

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Although HCMC has achieved some positive results in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the city will continue applying strict social distancing measures in line with the prime minister’s Directive 16 after September 15, probably for another fortnight, said HCMC Chairman Phan Van Mai.

At a press briefing this afternoon, September 13, Mai said the city had striven to bring the pandemic under control, especially since August 23, and had received support from the Government, other localities, residents and enterprises in the city, the local media reported.

The city’s fight against the pandemic has showed initial but encouraging results, such as more coronavirus-free areas, fewer extremely-high-risk areas and the falling number of new Covid-19 cases.

In addition, districts 7, Can Gio and Cu Chi have become the first districts to bring the pandemic under control, while some others have also achieved positive results in tackling the pandemic. On September 15, some more districts will declare to have suppressed Covid-19.

However, the city has yet to meet some criteria.

By the end of this month, the city will focus on the vaccination, specifically accelerating the rollout of the second shot.

Moreover, the city will enhance the capacity of the healthcare system, including medical centers and pop-up healthcare stations, to improve the treatment of Covid-19 cases.

The immunization coverage and the treatment capacity are important to combat the pandemic, Mai said.

Additionally, the city will this week complete a plan to continue fighting the pandemic and help the economy recover after September. The city will consult with enterprises, experts and residents over the plan.

The city has resumed the operation of supermarkets, e-commerce platforms and food and drink takeaway services and allowed shippers to return to work to serve the demands of local residents and enterprises.

In the coming periods, other services will be resumed, including delivery, transport, logistics, finance and banking services.

Regarding the balance between social distancing and production and business recovery, Mai said the pandemic remained complicated in the world and would continue raging, so the city must safely live with Covid-19.

The city needs to prepare for the new normal, including vaccines, the healthcare system and Covid-19 treatment methods.

Activities of residents and the resumption of enterprises must base on safety criteria, Mai noted.

The city is studying the green and yellow pass policy, part of the safety criteria.

In addition, the city has consulted with enterprises to propose support policies on taxes, fees, insurance and loans to the Government, while issuing its policies to help resume production and support laborers, the municipal chairman said, noting that supporting laborers also means supporting enterprises.

As for social welfare policies for residents, Mai said the city had tried to support disadvantaged residents and would roll out the third package amounting to VND10 trillion.

Over the past time, the city has given nearly VND6.5 trillion, 14,100 tons of rice and necessities to underprivileged people.

Mai admitted that the implementation of support packages remained not as good as expected. The city has reviewed and handled violators.

At the press briefing, director of the municipal Department of Health Tang Chi Thuong said the number of Covid-19 cases in the city was high. The solution of allowing asymptomatic Covid-19 cases to stay at home has produced positive results, but the solution requires the support of the municipal healthcare sector, especially pop-up healthcare stations.

Even when the green pass policy is issued, anti-pandemic measures and testing will remain important, as green pass holders can carry the coronavirus and transmit it to others and the community, Thuong added.

Regarding the criteria that the city has yet to meet, Thuong said the average two-week rolling number of new Covid-19 cases must drop continuously compared with the two prior weeks and be lower than half of the cases in the week with the highest Covid-19 caseload.

Over the past few days, HCMC’s daily Covid-19 cases have hovered around 5,000-6,000.

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