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HCM City to extend lockdown until September end, delay COVID ‘green cards’

HCM City to extend lockdown until September end, delay COVID ‘green cards’

TUESDAY, September 14, 2021

HCM CITY — HCM City authorities have announced an extension of the lockdown until the end of September from mid-month as instructed by the Government, and delayed a plan to issue COVID ‘green cards’ until further notice.

Speaking at a meeting on Monday, Dương Anh Đức, vice chairman of the city People’s Committee, said that the city would even impose stricter social distancing measures in some high-risk districts.

Low-risk areas like districts 7, Cần Giờ and Củ Chi, where the pandemic has been basically controlled, could ease measures, he added.

Directive 16 requires people to stay at home except for essential tasks like buying food or medicines.

Nguyễn Văn Nên, secretary of the city Party Committee, said the city was unlikely to contain the outbreak by September 15 as required by the Government last month, and was likely to do so by the end of the month. 

He said the city would also delay issuance of COVID green cards.

It would continue to consult medical and economic experts to further tweak the green card system and its requirements, depending on the pandemic status, he said. 

Đức said, “The city will place safety first before it gradually opens the economy.”

Earlier authorities said the city would gradually ease isolation measures based on risk assessment, epidemiological surveillance data and the response capacity of the health sector to reopen the economy, provide essential services and ensure distribution and transport of goods.

Classification of industries and units based on certain criteria would be carried out in order to gradually restore their operations.

It would work with the ministries of health and information and communications to use a single application to automatically check people’s information across the country. 

One of the criteria for issuing green cards is receiving two shots of vaccines.

Đức said under the green card model social distancing regulations could be relaxed for people meeting certain requirements. "Vaccinating the population quickly is important for reopening the economy," he added.

People who have fully recovered after getting COVID would be exempt from vaccination for six months but could go to work just like those who have received their second shot. 

Issuing green cards is one of seven proposals made by the Department of Health.

The others are universal vaccination, raising public awareness, community-based care, improving treatment, epidemiological surveillance, and consolidating the healthcare system.

The city targets giving all adults aged 18 and above their first shot by September 15 and second shot by the end of the year.

Children who have underlying diseases or are obese will be immunised first when more vaccines are available.

As of September 12 more than 7.8 million adults have received their first shots (85.2 per cent of the population), and 1.3 million have received both shots.

HCM City is the country’s pandemic hotspot with nearly 300,000 cases since late April.

It has been imposing strict preventive measures, carrying out tests to isolate patients and instructing citizens to “stay where they are”. — VNS