As Vietnam joins the world and opens borders in ‘new normal’ circumstances, things are shifting, restrictions are lifting, and the Ho Chi Minh City Government takes a fresh look at our civic duties. 

The old protocols

The Ministry of Health released rules in August 2020 to control the Covid outbreak, instructing citizens to wear a mask, clean their hands, keep away from one another, and avoid gatherings.

Nguyen Van Nen, secretary of the HCMC’s Party Committee, told a city meeting Wednesday // Photo on vnexpress

These protocols are no longer suitable 

However, the Ho Chi Minh City Party's chief said it was not necessary to ask for social distancing and avoiding large gatherings in the current circumstances.

"Given the current situation, only wearing a mask and disinfecting your hands are feasible," Secretary of the HCMC's Party Committee, Nguyen Van Nen, said during a city meeting this week.

Because the city has already re-opened, with the young returning to school and workers heading to the office, it's tough for individuals to avoid interacting with one another and avoiding gatherings, especially when students stay in class during lunch and rest periods.

"The situation has changed and if we keep applying the same protocols without making any adjustments, it would create obstacles for people," he said.

The city's Chairman Phan Van Mai had the following to say about a recent Ministry of Health proposal for people working in close contact: ‘related agencies and departments should make suggestions regarding Covid-19 safety standards for each sector’

Patients with Covid-19 symptoms should maintain strict health protocols while people in close contact to known Covid-19 patients should continue to live and work as normal as long as they aren’t showing symptoms. 

"For the time being, many businesses still quarantine Covid-19 patients for seven to ten days, and in the event of a large number of cases at once, their operations will be severely impacted," Mai added.

Source: VnExpress

What this means for you

Although some protocols will be lifted, wearing a mask when going outside is still going to be enforced. With a community divided, and some even requesting the facemask be retired along with other measures, it’s best to stay vigilant. With a culture that has fought so hard to keep Covid at bay, wearing masks is still the respectful thing to do. 

This relaxation of rules relates only to those of you in Ho Chi Minh City, as each province and city is allowed flexibility in their by-laws. When travelling outside of Saigon, make sure to follow the provincial protocols - and if in doubt - do as the locals do! 

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