Vietnam loosens restrictions as it lifts nationwide shutdown

HANOI, April 23 ------ Vietnam will loosen travel restrictions as the country lifts a nationwide shutdown after no new COVID-19 cases were reported the past week. The government announced the confinement order will be lifted starting Thursday in most cities and provinces except in the capital Hanoi, which has nearly half of the country’s 268 infections. Vietnam is among a few countries with no reported deaths from the virus. The government requests people to still practice social distancing as it bans public gathering of more than 20 people, in-dining restaurants, and other non-essential businesses will remain closed. In several provinces where no infection was reported, schools will be reopened. Students will be scanned for temperature before entering the premises. “We have basically contained the situation, but we must stay alert and take very careful steps when reopening the country,” Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said. Vietnam shut down its border with China in January, stopped international arrivals in mid-March, and vigorously carried out contact tracing down to commune level. Source: