Hanoi has continued loosening COVID-19 restrictions by restoring the operations of public offices, businesses, eateries, public transport, and others.
Such resumption was announced in a dispatch issued by the municipal administration on Wednesday and took effect from 6:00 am on Thursday, based on the national government's guidance on safe adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new rules follow the previous loosening applied since October 1, when the government decided to shift the country to 'new normal conditions,' a phrase used to describe its new strategy of living safely with the coronavirus.
In the dispatch, the capital city allowed public offices, agencies, and enterprises to resume their operations subject to regular risk assessment and compliance with epidemic prevention rules, although teleworking is still encouraged.
Buses, taxis, and app-based under-nine-seat vehicles are allowed to operate within Hanoi according to capacity and routes guided by the local transport department.
Local transport authorities will pilot two railway routes from Hanoi to Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa, in addition to some other routes under a trial run as ordered by the transport ministry.
Intercity coach services will also be restored with seven routes between Hanoi and Quang Ninh, Lang Son, Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Lai Chau, and Son La.
Museums and parks are permitted to welcome guests, subject to epidemic prevention rules and a cap of 10 people per group of visitors.
Hotels and other accommodation establishments must not operate more than 50 percent of their capacity when reopening.
Restaurants and other beverage service establishments may serve guests on site at no more than 50 percent of their seating capacity, in compliance will all epidemic control measures.
The dispatch, however, does not specify a date for students to go back to school or when local administrations will remove the 22 checkpoints at the capital city's gateways.
It requires local educational authorities to coordinate with health agencies in applying measures so the 2021-22 school year could take place safely and in vaccinating students under the Ministry of Health's guidance.
Hanoi, whose population is some 8.4 million, is speeding up second-dose COVID-19 vaccination coverage for its residents aged 18 and older after basically completing first-shot immunization around one month ago, local media reported.
Hanoi has documented 4,560 COVID-19 cases, including 37 deaths, since the pandemic erupted in Vietnam in early 2020, according to the health ministry's data.
Overall, the Southeast Asian nation has registered 849,691 coronavirus patients, comprising 787,286 recoveries and 20,869 fatalities in 62 out of its 63 provinces and cities, except Cao Bang.
Ho Chi Minh City is now suffering the most with 410,938 infection cases and 15,971 deaths.
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