HÀ NỘI — With the local COVID-19 outbreaks gradually being brought under control, the northern province of Hải Dương will lift some restrictions in certain areas on March 3, after 15 days of stringent province-wide lockdown measures.
Since January 27, the province has recorded over 600 COVID-19 local infections (nearly 300 have recovered), becoming the largest outbreak in the country since the pandemic began early last year, mostly centred around a number of hotspots.
Phạm Xuân Thăng, Secretary of Hải Dương Party Committee, at Monday’s meeting on COVID-19, said the outbreaks in the province are gradually being brought under control: "It's time the fight against the pandemic turns to a new chapter, maintaining a balance between socio-economic development and keeping the pandemic in check.”
Hải Dương Party Committee said the anti-pandemic measures must cause the least possible disruptions to socio-economic development, the flow of goods, and business activities in the province.
Hải Dương authorities agreed to divide the localities in the province into two groups under different restrictions depending on the COVID-19 risks.
Four high-risk localities, including Hải Dương City, Kinh Môn township, Cẩm Giàng District and Kim Thành, will be placed under the Government's Directive 15, the highest level of social distancing first introduced in March last year when the country entered nationwide lockdown. The directive prescribes limiting large gatherings, meetings with over 20 people in-doors or 10 people outdoors, maintaining two metres distance between individuals in public places, non-essential services are shut down, public passenger transport are halted, and travel is heavily restricted.
The remaining eight localities in the province will follow the less restrictive Government's Directive 19 on social distancing norms.
Hải Dương will continue to halt festivals, religious rituals, sporting events and other unimportant events that require large gatherings in public.
Entertainment venues, tourism venues, sport centres, beauty parlors, hairdressing shops, karaoke bars, massage parlours, bars, discotheques, restaurants, cafes and lottery stalls will continue to be closed.
People are urged to halt weddings, while funerals need to be held with caution in mind.
Factories and plants can resume work, but the owners will need to sign documents with the local authorities affirming their commitment to COVID-19 safety. Factories and plants are urged to routinely test their employees and managers for COVID-19.
Service venues – retail/wholesale trading shops, shopping malls, markets, supermarkets, hotels, accommodation facilities, etc. – can resume operations, but must observe COVID-19 prevention and control measures.
Remote learning will continue until when outbreaks are completely under control, at least March 17.
Inter-provincial and intra-provincial passenger transport can resume, but anti-pandemic measures need to be ensured in line with the guidelines from the Ministry of Transport.
Areas under lockdown due to new cases will continue until the order expires.
Secretary Thăng stressed the outbreaks could still recur if the local authorities are careless and let their guard down, and that the leaders will be held primarily accountable for the situation under their jurisdiction.
In the coming days, there might continue to be new cases found in the quarantine facilities or out in the community, but "we don't need to be worried, given the sufficient experience and resources," Thăng said. — VNS
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