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Vietnam Changes Strategy From ‘Zero COVID’ Policy To ‘Safe, Flexible, Effective Control’

According to a draft directive, from 0:00 on October 1, HCMC will start relaxing social distancing measures.

Vietnam Changes Strategy From ‘Zero COVID’ Policy To ‘Safe, Flexible, Effective Control’

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During the first week of September, Ho Chi Minh City authorities released the information that the city will focus on getting life back to normal for everyone as soon as possible, but no sooner than September 15. In three days, September will pass but it doesn’t seem like the most-hit city is seeing anything normal. 

Lisa, an expat living in District 7, has yet to receive her second dose of vaccine after more than eight weeks since the first. “Friday last week, my landlord informed me I’ll have my second on Saturday but because of the big population in my area, the supply for that day wasn’t enough and they were serving one person at a time due to lack of manpower as well, so I wasn’t able to get my second dose I was hoping.”

Lisa had her first dose in early August and according to her, the process was “smooth and hassle-free” but her recent experience was the complete opposite, and she was expecting a better vaccination process since she’s in D7, one of the three declared stable areas.

Just this morning, she was again told to wait for next week’s announcement. 

Lisa is just one of the many residents in HCMC patiently waiting to get vaccinated, hoping the said ‘new normal’ will start sooner. 

’New normal’ by September 30

In preparation for the reopening of the economy as well as the tourism sector,  Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has tapped the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to coordinate with relevant ministries and agencies to immediately discuss with other countries on mutual recognition of vaccine passports. 

In the same way, by September 30, the PM said the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control will change the strategy policy from "zero COVID" to "safe and flexible adaptation and effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

During the said meeting, while lauding localities’ efforts in the pandemic fight, PM Chính pointed out shortcomings in the field, including the ineffective implementation of movement measures in some localities, particularly at grassroots level, slow testing progress and inefficiency in conducting support policies for pandemic-hit groups.

The prime minister also mentioned that localities should not be negligent when the pandemic is just controlled at the very basic level, and that they must be consistent and persistent in leadership and direction, while continuously implementing anti-epidemic measures based on specific conditions of each locality. 

It was also discussed that in striving to implement pandemic control and socio-economic development, the safe and flexible adaptation and effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic must be followed. 

He told local media that localities must strengthen decentralization in pandemic prevention and control activities, with communes, wards and townships as “fortresses” and people as “warriors” in the fight. They should speed up vaccinations, especially targeting those in high-risk areas.

A new draft directive, signed by Vice Chairman of the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City Le Hoa Binh, will allow HCMC to reopen many activities such as weddings, funerals, commercial activities, and services with specific requirements for vaccines and testing.

According to this directive, from 0:00 on October 1, HCMC is expected to gradually relax social distancing protocols.

Today’s COVID-19 cases

The Ministry of Health confirmed 9,362 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, raising the national patient tally to 766,051.

The latest patients include 20 imported cases and 9,342 domestic infections detected in 36 cities and provinces. 

Still ranking first, Ho Chi Minh City with 4,134), followed by Binh Duong with 3,793. The rest of the cases were recorded in Dong Nai (616), Long An (190), An Giang (131), Tay Ninh (80), Kien Giang (73), Tien Giang (58), Can Tho (56), Ha Nam (35), Binh Thuan (32), Khanh Hoa (26), Binh Dinh (21), Quang Binh (15), Dong Thap (14), Phu Yen (11), Ninh Thuan (9), Kon Tum (5), Ca Mau (4), Bac Giang (4), Ba Ria – Vung Tau (4), Nghe An (3), Quang Ngai (3), Quang Tri (3), Vinh Long (3), Quang Nam (3), Dak Nong (3), Tra Vinh (2), Gia Lai (2), Ben Tre (2), Quang Ninh (2), Binh Phuoc (1), Da Nang (1), Thanh Hoa (1), Vinh Phuc (1), and Ha Noi (1).  

The MoH also reported 10,528 new recoveries, bringing the total number of recovered cases to 538,454.

Further 174 fatalities were recorded in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 18,758, or 2.4% of the national tally.