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Hai Duong province to lift social distancing restrictions on March 18

Students in some districts of the northern province of Hai Duong, Vietnam’s biggest COVID-19 pandemic cluster to date, will return to school on March 18 as local authorities have decided to lift a number of social distancing restrictions.

The outbreak in the province has been controlled with the number of new infection cases decreasing significantly.

The whole province began social distancing on February 16 after a surge in domestically-transmitted cases. The majority of those measures ended on March 3.

Four localities - Hai Duong city, Kinh Mon township, and Cam Giang and Kim Thanh districts, which recorded a high number of new cases, continued to apply some restrictions following the Prime Minister’s Directive No. 15/CT-TTg. Meanwhile, eight other districts and cities applied measures set out in the Prime Minister’s Directive No. 19/CT-TTg.

Starting from March 18, local authorities will allow transport operations, businesses, services and reopening of sports facilities and relic sites but still under strict public health safety conditions.

Festivals, religious activities and crowd gatherings will continue to be suspended.

The authorities ordered non-essential services like entertainment venues, beauty and spa, karaoke parlours and pubs to remain closed.

Some areas under lockdown will continue to be isolated until further decisions are made.

Primary, secondary and high schools in Binh Giang, Gia Loc, Ninh Giang, Thanh Ha, Thanh Mien, Tu Ky, Nam Sach districts are scheduled to resume on March 18, except for schools and students in the quarantine areas.

Students at grade nine and grade 12 in Cam Giang, Kim Thanh districts, Kinh Mon township and Chi Linh city will go back to school on March 18. Other students will continue online learning until further notice.

All kindergarten children will be off until the end of the month.

Hai Duong province's authorities have asked schools to suspend day-boarding models and extracurricular activities.

Schools must make preparations for the resumption, ensuring safety for students and have plans in place to compensate lessons for those who remain under quarantine and are not able to return to school next week.

Local authorities at town, district and city levels have been asked to maintain COVID-19 quick-response teams.

Steering committees for COVID-19 prevention and control at all levels are responsible for stepping up inspections at offices, businesses and schools and impose strict penalties on those who fail to follow COVID-19 protocols.

Hai Duong recorded 719 domestically-transmitted cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic’s resurgence in late January. More than 1,400 people who have come into close contact with the confirmed cases are being quarantined in the province. Among patients who have contracted the virus, 463 have recovered.