People hesitate to return home for Tet due to Covid-19 prevention regulations

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Many people have not had the opportunity to visit their families because of two consecutive years of Covid-19. In 2021, the pandemic spread widely, causing great damages in all aspects.

People are desperately homesick, but their ways back to their hometowns are not easy due to confusing regulations.

People hesitate to return home for Tet due to Covid-19 prevention regulations
People return to Thua Thien – Hue Province through Phu Bai Airport. (Photo: SGGP)

As the 2022 Lunar New Year is coming close, people want to go home and reunite with their families on a warm Tet holiday. However, after a tough year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, most people lost their income. At the same time, the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic remains unpredictable, so there are differences in pandemic prevention in many provinces and cities, making many people wonder whether to return to their hometowns for the Tet holiday or not.

Many concerns

Despite having been away from home for a long time, Ms. Bao Loc, a worker in Binh Thanh District, HCMC, whose hometown is in Quang Ngai Province, said that she did not dare to buy bus or train tickets to return home for the Tet holiday because she had heard that the regulations on Covid-19 prevention in her hometown were extremely strict.

She only has seven days for her homecoming trip. Meanwhile, it is mandatory to have RT-PCR tests in HCMC and Quang Ngai City. She will be under health monitoring at home for seven days, and on the seventh day, she has to do the RT-PCR test again. “It is very complicated and takes a lot of time of my Tet holiday,” she said.

Ms. Dieu, currently living in District 7, is desperately homesick because she has not returned to her hometown in Thai Binh Province for nearly three years. Because her children were under online learning, more than a month ago, she planned to bring her children to her hometown for the Lunar New Year holiday. However, her plan was canceled because this province requested concentrated isolation. Although the regulations have been eased now, she remains hesitant because it requires too much Covid-19 testing.

On the afternoon of January 6, at Mien Dong Bus Station, Vo Thi Ngoc Ha from Thanh Hoa Province was weighing whether to pay more than VND4 million for round-trip bus tickets to her hometown and back to HCMC. According to regulations, passengers must take a Covid-19 test before the day of departure. If they are infected with Covid-19, they will not be allowed to get on the bus. Meanwhile, many bus operators stipulate that passengers must return tickets 24-48 hours prior to departure and lose about 30 percent of the fare. “If you test for Covid-19 a few hours before getting on the bus and get a positive result, it will be considered that the ticket will not be refunded,” Ha said.

Nguyen Hoang Son from Binh Dinh Province, currently living in District 10, hesitated to buy a bus ticket to his hometown to celebrate Tet holiday because of the strict bus ticket cancellation policy. He said that a friend of his returned to his hometown to celebrate the New Year. While he was on a passenger bus, he received the news that his family members were contracted with Covid-19. The whole family was isolated, and his friend had no other choice but to return to HCMC immediately. Son was afraid that he would experience the same situation as his friend.

Different regulations on pandemic prevention

SGGP’s reporters have learned that there are differences in the regulations on Covid-19 pandemic prevention and control in some localities.

Binh Thuan Province requires that not only people returning from the orange and red zones but also from the yellow zones must self-monitor their health at home. Mr. Nguyen Minh, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Binh Thuan Province, said that the pandemic prevention regulations follow closely the provincial regulations and Resolution No.128 of the Government. At present, the province still follows Decision No.2780 of the provincial People’s Committee issued in October 2021 on safe adaptation, flexible, and effective control of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Quang Ngai Province, Mr. Pham Minh Duc, Deputy Director of Quang Ngai Provincial Department of Health, explained that the RT-PCR test is mandatory for people from some provinces and cities with a high number of Covid-19 cases, such as HCMC, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, and Long An provinces, and orange and red zones. People who have not been fully vaccinated must be self-quarantined at home or in accommodation for seven days and self-monitor for the next seven days. All the above cases are required to do RT-PCR testing on the first day of arrival in Quang Ngai Province.

However, Mr. Dang Van Minh, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Quang Ngai Province, affirms that the province does not force people to take RT-PCR tests when entering the province.

Quang Tri Province issued a confusing regulation, asking people from HCMC and Southern provinces to isolate seven days at home if returning from the yellow zones; at least seven days of concentrated isolation and seven days of home isolation if returning from orange zones; at least 14 days of concentrated isolation and the next 14 days of home isolation if returning from the red zones. Meanwhile, it only requires people who enter the country to be monitored at home for three days for those who have had a full dose of Covid-19 vaccine or recovered from Covid-19 or seven days for people who enter through border gates and have not been vaccinated or have not been fully vaccinated. Mr. Do Van Hung, Director of the Department of Health of Quang Tri Province, explained that the locality follows the official dispatch of the Ministry of Health.

People in Quang Kim Commune in Quang Trach District of Quang Binh Province said that the commune health center stipulates that people, who return to their hometown to celebrate the Tet holiday and have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccines, must also be isolated at home for 14 days, making people frustrated. Mr. Uong Dinh Thai, Deputy Director of Quang Trach District Medical Center, said that in the face of this incident, the center checked and instructed seven-day health monitoring for people who had injected two doses of Covid-19 vaccines, and did not force 14-day home isolation as Quang Kim Commune did.

Source: Sai Gon Giai Phong

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, up to over 140,000 overseas Vietnamese have the need to celebrate the upcoming lunar New Year at home.

Deputy Prime Ministers Vu Duc Dam and Pham Binh Minh have encouraged overseas Vietnamese to return to celebrate Tet.

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