Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City lifts COVID-19 restrictions for vaccinated people

Vietnam's pandemic hotspot Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday announced that people who have received at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccines or recovered from the disease are permitted to engage in socio-economic activities.

This is part of the temporary measures adapted for the flexible, safe and effective control of COVID-19 issued by the city's administration on Tuesday.

Children who haven't reached the age eligible for vaccination can also take part in socio-economic activities, but they have to be accompanied by inoculated adults.

The activities include participating in large gatherings such as festivals, cultural and sport events, using public transport, working at public workplaces, and attending classes, among others.

The activities themselves can also be subject to certain restrictions depending on the COVID-19 risk levels of each area, which are classified mainly by vaccination rate and the number of infections among population.

The city has also allowed non-essential businesses like bars, night clubs, and karaoke parlors to resume full operation in low-risk areas and at half capacity in medium-risk ones starting from Tuesday. These services cannot operate in places still classified at "high" or "very high" risk.

After over six months of closure as part of COVID-19 restrictions, these are among the last services to reopen in the southern Vietnamese city. Most of the normal activities and services have been resumed since early October after months of stringent social distancing measures.

Ho Chi Minh City remains Vietnam's largest pandemic hotspot with more than 1,000 new cases reported per day. It has so far logged over 446,000 COVID-19 infections in the latest wave of infection which started in late April, according to the municipal center for disease control. 

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