Ho Chi Minh City implements social distancing throughout the City in the spirit of ‘Directive No. 16/CT-TTg’ dated March 31, 2020 of the Prime Minister which is to be implemented for 15 days from the midnight of 9th July 2021. The Ministry of Transport and the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City have issued timely instructions and guidelines for the organizing traffic to create a ‘green channel’ for means of transport extending to 15 days, from July 9, 2021. Let us look at these instructions and guidelines.
Passenger transport must be suspended
Public passenger transport by car including buses, taxis, contract cars, tourist cars and fixed route coaches have been suspended in Ho Chi Minh City. However, the following exceptions have been provided:
- Transportation for official reasons, transporting workers and experts from other provinces to Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa, serving in the activities of export processing zones and industrial parks in Ho Chi Minh City.
- Transporting people in quarantine, (and)
- Carrying people to and from hospitals and medical centers by taxies when necessary.
Those allowed to operate must comply with the regulations on Covid-19 prevention. There is strict implementation of the following guidelines: For transporting workers and experts, vehicles must be disinfected, each trip transports a maximum of 50% capacity. No more than 20 people per trip allowed. The passengers must sit on alternate rows of seats. Passengers in vehicles must wear masks, sanitize their hands with an antiseptic solution, undergo a medical check before boarding and make a medical declaration as prescribed. The head of the unit must specify and fix the route, trip, and passengers to ensure accurate tracing when there is a Covid-19 situation.
Vehicles transporting workers and experts from Ho Chi Minh City to other provinces and cities and vice versa, vehicles must pass through Ho Chi Minh City only along the green channel (private route) during the time of social distancing. The Department of Transport will announce activities for which transportation of people to and from hospitals and medical centers is allowed in case of emergency. All regulations must be complied with as announced by the ‘People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City’ and the ‘Department of Health of Ho Chi Minh City’.
For taxis carrying people to go to the hospital or medical center for medical necessity, it is required to transport no more than 50% of the capacity of such vehicle. Further, all passengers in cars must make a medical declaration and wear a mask when using the service in accordance with regulations. The air conditioning system must be turned off car windows must be opened during the passenger service. Cars must be equipped with disinfectant water and disinfect of vehicles must be carried out daily. Anyone refusing to comply with regulations must be denied the transportation service.
In addition, the City also requested to stop the operation of passenger transport services by motorbike, including vehicles using mobile application software to connect with passengers such as Grab, Gojek, Bee and even “traditional motorbike”.
In addition, Ho Chi Minh City also temporarily suspends the operation of river-crossing, inland waterway ports for public passenger transport (except for Can Gio – Can Giuoc, Can Thanh – Thanh An and Thanh An – Thieng Lieng). For foreign ships, domestic ships and inland waterway ships entering and leaving Ho Chi Minh City seaports, no captains and crews are allowed to disembark. For inland waterway means, when entering and leaving a port or inland waterway port, the captain and crews are allowed to disembark only in a limited number (only 01 representative to carry out port procedures and must strictly comply with the regulations on prevention as prescribed).
Cargo transport (not carrying people) is still allowed to operate
Transporting goods by motorbike is allowed. However, the following instructions must be followed:
- For drivers: Always wear a mask during transportation, purchase, receipt of products and delivery to customers (keep a distance of 2m during delivery and receipt of products), submit medical declaration as prescribed.
- Passengers using shopping services must wear masks when receiving goods. After receiving the goods, remove the packaging, wash hands immediately with soap/disinfectant solution, and clean the product just received (if it is a commodity). Encourage the use of non-cash payment methods.
- For mobile application service providers: Make and store on the software the list of vehicles, drivers, passengers, routes and locations involved in movement. Such information must be provided to the competent authority (if required). Details about difficulties in the process of implementing measures to prevent the COVID-19 epidemic must also be informed to the competent authority.
For cargo transport services by road: (i) Vehicles transporting production materials, essential goods (foods such as rice, instant noodles, dried vermicelli, cattle meat, poultry meat, poultry eggs, vegetables and fruits, seafood etc.) from other provinces to Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa, (ii) cars transporting goods for production and business from other provinces to Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa, which are serving export processing zones and industrial parks in the area of Ho Chi Minh City, (iii) cars transporting goods to and from ports in Ho Chi Minh City or from other provinces to Ho Chi Minh City, (iv) cars transporting essential goods, or goods in service of production and business, or goods arriving at ports and industrial parks in transit at Ho Chi Minh City are still allowed to operate but must comply with the city’s regulations on epidemic prevention.
Issuance of vehicle identification certificates during the implementation of the directive
Type of transport for which the vehicle identification certificate is granted:
- Cars transporting essential goods (foods such as rice, instant noodles, dry vermicelli, cattle meat, poultry meat, poultry eggs, vegetables and fruits, seafood etc.) from other provinces to Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa.
- Cars transporting goods for production and business. Vehicles transporting experts and workers from other provinces to Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa, which are serving export processing zones and industrial parks in Ho Chi Minh City.
- Cars transporting goods to and from ports in Ho Chi Minh City, from other provinces to Ho Chi Minh City.
- Cars transporting essential goods, or goods in service of production and business, or goods to ports, industrial parks. Vehicles for transporting experts and workers of export processing zones and industrial parks in-transit (passing through) the area of Ho Chi Minh City.
Enterprises wishing to be granted a vehicle identification certificate shall submit a written request to the focal agency (Department of Industry and Trade/Management Board of Export Processing Zone, Industrial Park/Port Management Unit/Department of Transport). The Department of Transport of Ho Chi Minh City receives the requests from the focal agencies, approves such requests and issues the QR code on the vehicle identification certificate. Enterprises must print, stamp and stick the certificate on the front windshield of the vehicles.
Vehicle identification certificate facilitates green channels when traveling. It is not a required license when traveling through COVID-19 control areas in Ho Chi Minh City implementing Directive No. 16. Vehicles with vehicle identification papers will be guided to use priority lanes to avoid congestion, ensure timely production and business progress and serve essential goods.
In addition, all drivers, attendants, and passengers on passenger and cargo vehicles when traveling from Ho Chi Minh City to other provinces or vice versa are required to have a negative test certificate for SARS-CoV-2 (according to current regulations of the Ministry of Health), except for vehicles transporting people to and from hospitals and medical centers in urgent cases. However, such persons and vehicles must be monitored and controlled in accordance with the epidemic prevention measures.
Enterprises can arrange for drivers and servicemen on vehicles to go to hospitals or laboratories licensed by the Ministry of Health to get tested for SARS-CoV-2. Currently, there is still no official document stipulating the validity period of this test certificate. In addition, it is necessary to make a medical declaration by QR code every day.
Ho Chi Minh City is going through a tough period due to the latest outbreak of Covid-19. Every individual and enterprise must keep themselves updated with the State’s guidelines and policies and join hands in compliance to contribute to ensuring the safety of citizens and to control the epidemic.
Date of authoring: 12/07/2021.
The article is based on applicable laws at the time noted above and may no longer be relevant at the time the reader approaches this article due to the change in applicable law and the specific case to which the reader wishes to apply. Therefore, the article is for reference only.