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Back Stories » Saigon » Saigon Allows Shippers to Operate Again in 'Red Zones,' Requires Daily Covid-19 Tests

In an effort to ease pressures on ward officials, Saigon authorities have allowed shippers to resume operation from today, albeit with some caveats.

VnExpress reports that over the weekend the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee issued a document to relevant agencies regarding intra-city transport. Specifically, the city has permitted shippers who have received at least one dose of any COVID-19 vaccine to make deliveries across districts again.

In eight districts labeled “red zones” — including Thu Duc City, District 8, 12, Go Vap, Binh Tan, Binh Thanh, Binh Chanh and Hoc Mon — shippers can hit the streets again from August 30, though they must get tested daily at their resident ward’s mobile medical kiosk. For the remaining 14 districts, shippers are only required to test for COVID-19 every two days. 

Nguoi Lao Dong quoted the HCMC Department of Industry and Commerce as saying that the daily tests for shippers will be conducted for free. The department also released a list of 400 local testing locations in 312 wards, communes and towns in Saigon. There are currently over 12,500 shippers operating in non-red zones in town, but the city hopes to increase the number gradually to 25,000 once the suspension is lifted this week.

A week ago, on August 23, Saigon imposed the most stringent level of movement restrictions yet by banning shipping activities in red zones. In other districts, shipping was limited to intra-district orders. Citizens are not allowed to leave their homes for non-essential reasons, including to buy groceries, which is now outsourced to ward officials, police officers and members of the military.

On August 28, Grab revealed that it would collaborate with local government staff to help smooth the ordering process for essential goods in Thu Duc City. The transport giant will use its technological infrastructure to allow Saigoneers to pick goods on the app. Within two days, supermarkets will fulfill the order and local government staff will deliver them to households.

With more shippers on the streets, it is hoped that more grocery orders can be delivered on time, as the past week has seen an unprecedented surge in demand. According to supermarket chain AEON, their locations in Tan Phu and Binh Tan have experienced a three- or even four-fold increase in orders while facing staff shortages. Other retailers like Bach Hoa Xanh and Vinmart also reported a similar situation.

[Photo via Dan Viet]