Once the province with the highest COVID-19 caseload in Vietnam's Mekong Delta, Long An has started easing many of its social distancing rules since Tuesday, bringing the pace of life back to a sense of normalcy.
Starting 12:00 am on Tuesday, Long An Province has relinquished the stringent social distancing rules under the prime minister's Directive No. 16 and adopted Directive No. 15, which no longer bans outdoor travels and allows gatherings of less than 10 people.
Takeaway food services are allowed to reopen while manufacturing facilities can welcome workers back.
However, bus services are still shuttered and people still need to maintain a safe distance in public.
The new rules also mention the resumption of construction projects, essential services, banking and credit institutions, the stock market, and public administration services.
|ATM booths in Long An Province are crowded after the easing of social distancing rules on September 21, 2021. Photo: Son Lam / Tuoi Tre|
|A food stall in Long An Province is reopened after the easing of social distancing rules. Photo: Son Lam / Tuoi Tre|
Long An will still maintain COVID-19 checkpoints at gateways connecting the area with surrounding provinces, as well as internal boundaries separating safe zones with locales at high risk of transmission.
These checkpoints will only let certain demographics pass through, including frontline workers, suppliers of medicine and medical equipment, infrastructure maintenance workers, delivery workers, reporters, harvesting farmers, as well as those traveling for vaccination or medical checkups, plus vaccinated and tested people with travel passes.
|A bookstore in Long An Province is reopened after the easing of social distancing rules. Photo: Son Lam / Tuoi Tre|
|One of the last COVID-19 checkpoints in Tan An City of Long An Province, September 21, 2021. Photo: Son Lam / Tuoi Tre|
Long An has recorded almost 31,000 coronavirus infections since the fourth wave of outbreak hit Vietnam in late April.
The high caseload made it one of the gravest outbreak sites in Vietnam, but recent attempts of local authorities in contact tracing, mass testing, and vaccination have helped the province put the situation in control, with 25,714 recoveries logged to date.
The province is pinning high hopes on a return to normalcy, as over 1.4 million residents of the province have received at least one jab against COVID-19, of which 13 percent have been fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, new infections and death numbers have been on a downward trajectory over the past two weeks.
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