Coronavirus: Vietnam PM reviewing proposal to extend social distancing plan

People stand in line for free rice, at a distance of 2m from each other in Hanoi, on April 12, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

HANOI (BLOOMBERG) - Vietnam's national steering committee overseeing the country's novel coronavirus outbreak says Vietnam should extend its social distancing order for at least one more week in cities and provinces with high risks of the virus, according to a statement on the government's website.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is reviewing the proposal, which could take effect as soon as Wednesday (April 15), as the current 15-day social distancing and stay-at-home order initiated April 1 expires.

In other regions, some businesses could be re-opened under certain conditions, the National Steering Committee on Covid-19 Prevention and Control proposed.

The order directing people to wear masks and banning mass gatherings should still be applied to all cities and provinces, it said.

Mr Phuc ordered the authorities to keep tightening virus prevention measures, especially those restricting people from going outdoors and gathering in large numbers, the government said a different posting.

The Premier asked for adherence to anti-virus measures to avoid a lengthy extension of the social distancing order and strict lockdown.

Government officials also met industrial groups and foreign business associations on Wednesday to review measures to further help companies hurt during the pandemic, including resolving tax issues, according to another government posting.

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