The central city of Da Nang has decided to ease its social distancing restrictions starting Saturday to allow gatherings of up to 20 people.
The decision was taken after the local Covid-19 outbreak was deemed to have been brought under control.
According to the decision issued by Chairman Huynh Duc Tho on Friday, city authorities will permit restaurants, shops, food and drink serving establishments to resume their business starting Saturday, allowing only takeaways.
All establishments are required to have dry washing gels available, have staff wear masks and request all customers to do the same.
The ban on swimming has still not been lifted in the coastal city. Hotels and hostels can reopen but not their food and massage services.
Friday’s easing order came six days after no community transmission was recorded in the city and three weeks after it extended the social distancing campaign on August 11 after starting it for the first time on July 28.
Bui Thanh Thuan, deputy director of the Da Nang Department of Transport, said that buses and car services have been given the green light to operate. The department is still working on a proposal about resuming railway and aviation services with the city administration. The proposal will be submitted to the Transport Ministry for approval.
Da Nang residents are still advised to not leave their houses unless it is absolutely necessary and to wear masks in public. Households will have to stick to the current stipulation of going shopping only once every three days.
Gatherings of more than 20 people in public places and at social settings including festivals, sports tournaments, weddings and house parties are still forbidden.
"Non-essential" businesses including beauty salons, karaoke parlors and movie theaters remain closed, as do sports-related services including gyms.
Students from preschool to university levels are not allowed to go back to school yet. Vietnamese students traditionally begin a new school year on September 5.
Some areas in the city are still under lockdown until the mandated 14 days are over.
In the past five days, tests have been conducted among students attending the national high school exam as well as examiners and household representatives. So far, more than 24,000 test results have come out negative, comprising 10 percent of Da Nang’s households.
On Thursday, Truong Quang Nghia, Secretary of the Da Nang City Party Committee, asked local authorities to abide by the central government’s dual goals: contain the Covid-19 outbreak and maintain economic growth.
Da Nang was the first locality in Vietnam to record a Covid-19 community transmission in 99 days on July 25. The infection has since spread to 15 localities.
There have been 389 cases linked with the city alone. Of these, 31 have died while 90 others are still under treatment. The rest have been discharged from hospitals.
Vietnam’s current Covid-19 tally is 1049, with 35 deaths. All the fatalities have been of patients with underlying conditions like kidney failure, cancer and diabetes.
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