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The Week in Focus: Social Distancing Regulations Eased Off

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Each week, we digest the most important stories from the capital, the rest of Vietnam and beyond, and summarize them in short paragraphs so you can easily keep up with current affairs.

Social Distancing Campaign Ends

After going a week without detecting any new coronavirus cases, the government has started to ease regulations that have been in place since April 1.

Hanoi, with the exception of Me Linh and Thuong Tin districts, where active cases remain, is allowing most businesses to re-open. The capital, along with Saigon and the provinces of Bac Ninh and Ha Giang, have been classified as "at-risk" locations, while the rest of the country has been downgraded to "low-risk."

In Da Nang, companies offering beach activities, accommodation and some four-wheeled commercial passenger services have been allowed to resume operation.

Officials nationwide have warned residents to remain vigilant, as the Covid-19 pandemic remains extremely dangerous worldwide.

2.7% GDP Growth Predicted

While this week's coronavirus news is excellent on the public health front, the economic fallout of the outbreak will be deep and long-lasting.

The International Monetary Fund has estimated that Vietnam's growth rate will be 2.7% this year, a far cry from average of nearly 7% that the country has achieved in recent years.

While this figure may sound gloomy, it is actually far better than the predicted growth for many other countries, with Italy, the United States and the United Kingdom expected to see significant contraction, along with Asian nations such as Japan and South Korea.

In fact, Vietnam may lead Asia in growth, as both China and India are expected to remain under 2% growth.

Hanoi Tells Pharmacies to Report Customers Buying Treatments for Cold, Cough and Fever

The city government has asked 7,000 pharmacies to begin reporting customers who purchase medicine that could be used to treat symptoms related to Covid-19. Such customers will also have to fill out a health declaration form in order to obtain their medicine. 

A number of wholesale markets, including Nga Tu So, Long Bien and Hoang Mai, carried out large-scale testing of vendors, traders and shoppers in order to ensure a safe operating environment.