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Nationwide social distancing to be extended to end of month
Thursday,  4/2/2020, 12:09 

Nationwide social distancing to be extended to end of month

The Saigon Times

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the meeting - PHOTO: VGP

HCMC - Nationwide social distancing shall be extended until the end of April to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at a meeting of the Government yesterday, April 1.

The prime minister earlier issued an order on nationwide social distancing for 15 days, starting at midnight on April 1 as an emergency measure to handle the virus.

Phuc cited a survey by the Berlin-based Dalia Research, noting that the Vietnamese people’s confidence in the Government’s response to Covid-19 is the highest in the world, with 62% of respondents in Vietnam saying the Government is doing “right amount” in response to the pandemic.

He stressed that the Government will take stronger measures in the coming days to fight off the pandemic. If necessary, nationwide social distancing will be extended from the current 15 days to one month.

According to Phuc, nationwide social distancing does not mean banning transport, restricting the production and trade of necessities and essential services or suspending construction. It calls on the public to stay at home and only go out if necessary for buying food and medicine or working in factories or production facilities that produce essential goods and other emergency cases. Besides this, people should maintain a safe physical distance of at least 2 meters and not gather in groups of more than two in public places.

Factories and production facilities should be disinfected regularly, while employees are required to wear face masks and practice social distancing.

Though many countries have posted negative growth due to the coronavirus, Phuc stated that Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.82% in the first quarter of 2020 was “not too bad.”

The Government will try its best to prevent an economic downturn, he stressed. However, the safety of the people will be prioritized ahead of economic growth.

“If the pandemic continues, protecting the people’s health will be the most important thing, not production or economic growth,” Phuc said.

Vietnam is applying three policies to ensure socioeconomic stability: an easy monetary policy that reduces interest rates with a package worth VND250 trillion; fiscal stimulus through tax reductions or tax payment extensions with a stimulus package worth VND30 trillion; and aid for unemployed, poor or disadvantaged people.

Phuc noted that these packages should be even larger to support socioeconomic stability.

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