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D7 Explores Plan to Slowly Reopen Businesses After Successful Covid-19 Curb

Having achieved stellar results in curbing COVID-19 spread, District 7 is devising a plan for reopening in the near future.

Tuoi Tre reports that late last week, officials in District 7 and Cu Chi District announced that their local COVID-19 outbreaks were largely under control thanks to a combination of high vaccination rates, falling infection figures and reduced virus-related deaths.

According to Hoàng Minh Tuấn Anh, chairman of the District 7 People's Committee, the southern district found 1,525 new cases in local screenings from August 21 to 25, amounting to 1.11% of all samples. From August 29 to September 1, over 120,000 tests in red and orange zones yielded 1,040 positive cases (0.86%). From September 1 to 3, 8,355 tests in yellow and green zones resulted in only 9 cases (0.01%).

District 7 has also experienced low mortality rates among severe COVID-19 cases of around 10–12 deaths a day at the District 7 COVID-19 Field Hospital, Anh said. In the past two weeks, the figure dropped to 2–3 deaths a day. From September 1 to 4, only one death was recorded. The district has vaccinated over 236,000 people with at least one shot, reaching 99.43% of people ages 18 and above.

Cu Chi and District 7 are the first areas of Saigon to make such an announcement, and they are now being eyed as models for how the city can move forward beyond September 15, when the current Directive 16 lockdown is scheduled to end.

When it comes to District 7, local leaders have proposed allowing the trading of essential products and opening of street businesses from September 20. These categories have not been specified, while anyone involved in this work would need to be fully vaccinated. Businesses would only be allowed to operate from 6am to 6pm and can only do takeaways or online orders.

It's important to note that these regulations are not confirmed, but the district has set up a team to study possible reopening models. Officials have also noted that any loosening of regulations will be gradual, as District 7 borders districts with much higher infection rates, while any renewed outbreak would pose a huge threat. 

Residents of Saigon are also waiting on news of whether Directive 11, the city's "stay in place" regulations, will be extended beyond tonight, when they expire. The rules, implemented two weeks ago, prevent people from leaving home unless for an emergency, while food distribution is handled by a combination of government staff, supermarkets, and delivery drivers.

Over the weekend, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính said that the central government is working on plans for the country to safely pursue a "new normal" while safely living with COVID-19.

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