Hanoi, Quang Ninh qualify as Covid-19 safe zones: health authorities

VnExpress
Hanoi and Quang Ninh are among localities classified as having low novel coronavirus risks under new guidelines, potentially allowing the resumption of several activities.

Buses resume operations in Hanoi on October 14, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Buses resume operations in Hanoi on October 14, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Earlier this week, the government issued a resolution on Covid-19 adaptation which will be applied nationwide. Under this, different areas would be categorized into four levels based on their coronavirus risk. Level 1 areas carry the lowest risks and Level 4 the highest.

Level 1 areas could theoretically allow all services and activities to resume as normal alongside Covid prevention measures. These include food and beverage establishments, malls, hotels, religious institutions and movie theaters, among others.

As areas ascend to levels with higher-risks, services and activities would be restricted, even banned outright.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health released temporary guidelines on effective Covid-19 management and adaptation, which included criteria to classify areas into different risk levels based on the metrics of rate of community transmission, vaccination rate and Covid-19 treatment capabilities.

Truong Quang Viet, deputy director of the Hanoi Center for Disease Control (CDC), said Thursday that Hanoi qualifies to be a Level 1 area in accordance with the new guidelines.

While Hanoi theoretically qualifies to be a Level 1 area, it will not be truly impervious to the coronavirus as there still Covid-19 infectees in the community, he added.

"The coronavirus fight is still difficult and needs to be carefully managed, but Hanoi will gradually reopen economic activities as instructed by the government," Viet said.

So far, Hanoi has vaccinated 5.9 million people with at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot, and 2.9 million people have been fully vaccinated.

The northern province of Quang Ninh also qualifies to become a Level 1 area, said Nguyen Trong Dien, director of the provincial Department of Health.

"The province has gone over 100 days without a community transmission case," he said, adding that enough of the population would be fully vaccinated within this month.

"All activities in the province are happening as normal. But we still don't encourage karaoke parlors and bars as they take place in tight (enclosed) spaces," Dien added.

Localities like Bac Giang Province in the north and and Da Nang City in the central region are yet to fulfill Level 1 qualifications. They would have to settle for Level 2, for now.

Tu Quoc Hieu, director of the Bac Giang health department, said while the province is currently seeing no new community transmission and its Covid-19 treatment capability has been bolstered, not enough people have been vaccinated yet.

Only around 50 percent of Bac Giang's adult population has received at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot, and only half of them have been fully vaccinated. To satisfy the health ministry's Level 1 criteria, at least 70 percent of the adult population must have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot.

"We can administer around 100,000 shots a day. If the health ministry could distribute more vaccine doses to us, we would be able to fulfill the criteria to become a Level 1 area," Hieu said.

Da Nang also has the same vaccination rate stumbling block.

Ton That Thanh, director of the Da Nang CDC, said the city is yet to fully vaccinate at least 80 percent of its elderly population, and so must settle for a Level 2 classification.

Vietnam has so far vaccinated over 40.6 million people with at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot, and 16.5 million people have been fully vaccinated.

The health ministry approved vaccination for children aged 12-18 against Covid-19 on Thursday.

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