|Vaccination site in Tien Son Sports Palace, Da Nang
During the early days of the pandemic, Vietnam focused on preventing community transmission altogether. Now that that has proven impossible, the country is resigned to living with the virus, minimizing infections and the mortality rate while maintaining economic growth and social security. With this new orientation, administrations at all levels are adjusting their response plan to restore economic activities.
|People in 'green zones' in District 7, Can Gio and Cu Chi districts, HCM City are allowed to go to the market once a week
Stamp out outbreaks, prompt quarantine
At meetings on COVID-19 prevention and control with local authorities of Can Tho and Tra Vinh province last weekend, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said safe areas should resume their normal economic activities in a safe, sustainable manner. The Deputy Prime Minister said as long as health safety is ensured, normal production can be resumed.
At a recent meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control with leaders of several localities hard hit by COVID-19, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said, 'We should take disease prevention as a fundamental, long-term, and decisive task in order to make strong and resolute measures. We should bear this in mind in organizing disease prevention activities. If we can prevent the disease, we don’t need to fight it. If one dong spent on disease prevention is not paid, we will need to spend millions of dong to fight the pandemic and suffer other losses as well. '
Health experts say that, because the vaccination rate remains low, social distancing and quarantine measures should continue. In some cities and provinces, restrictions are being implemented in small areas. Instead of quarantining a whole ward, the local administration now blocks off only certain households where infections have been reported. Social distancing is being eased in many localities in order to restore normal production and trading activities.
Binh Duong province, a southern province badly affected by the pandemic, is easing social distancing in green areas where the infection rate has been low for several days. The local administration assesses the pandemic situation every three days to decide what to do next.
Gradual resumption of normal activities
The 4th wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Vietnam’s 4 key economic regions. As of Sunday, more than 92% of all infections and 97% of all COVID-19 deaths had been reported in those regions. The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers have hosted several meetings with ministries, sectors, and localities to address the problems businesses are facing. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has said several times that it’s important to reopen while continuing with flexible social distancing measures. Many southern localities, including HCM City, the pandemic’s epicenter, have reopened a number of wholesale markets and are gradually restoring business and tourism activities.
HCM City Party Secretary Nguyen Van Nen said, 'We can neither halt all infections immediately nor implement strict social distancing indefinitely. We need to implement safe strategies to reopen and restore production and business activities in order to protect the health of the economy.'
Gradual reopening is good news for businesses and workers throughout the country. But easing social distancing measures needs to flexible and responsive to the local pandemic situation, vaccination must be accelerated, people should continue to follow the 5K prevention measures, and health-related IT and data technology should be stepped up.