Social distancing measures will be extended for 12 Vietnamese localities at high risk of Covid-19 infections, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, according to a new decision made by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Along with three big cities, other localities classified as at high risk are Lao Cai, Quang Ninh, Bac Ninh, Ninh Binh (Truong Yen), Quang Nam, Binh Thuan, Khanh Hoa, Tay Ninh and Ha Tinh.

The social distancing period will last until April 22 or 30, or even longer depending on specific conditions.

The National Steering Committee on Covid-19 Prevention and Control classified the 63 localities into three groups – high, medium and low risk.

Fifteen localities at medium risk are Binh Duong, Can Tho, Dong Nai, Ha Nam, Hai Phong, Kien Giang, Nam Dinh, Nghe An, Thai Nguyen, Thua Thien-Hue, Soc Trang, Lang Son, An Giang, Binh Phuoc and Dong Thap.

Other provinces are in the low-risk group.

Authorities of localities at medium and low risk are given authority to make decisions on sectors that can resume operation if they take preventive measures.

People in these localities must continue to refrain from going out, wear face masks, wash hands, keep a distance of at least 2m from each other. Large gatherings, religious ceremonies, rituals and entertainment activities are banned. Tourism sites must be closed.

Phuc said low-risk localities are still exposed to infection, ordering them to follow Directive 15, which includes bans of gatherings of 20 or more people in a room and 10 or more people outside of offices, schools and hospitals.

He also ordered all localities to continue to suspend unnecessary activities. Local authorities must prepare plans to recover the economy after the pandemic.

Phuc agreed to continue to limit immigration from overseas.

He urged the National Steering Committee on Covid-19 Prevention and Control to consider specific conditions to gradually lift social distancing to hit two targets – control the pandemic and develop the socio-economy. The list of localities in three groups can be changed depending on their situations.

The risk classification is based on the density of traffic, population, factories, industrial parks, having borders or not, the number of people going through borders or places where foreigners used to stay, and pandemic response capacity of local authorities.

Following the extended social distancing, Ho Chi Minh City ordered the suspension of coaches, taxis, buses until April 22.

The Fatherland Front on Wednesday announced that nearly 1.6 trillion dong ($68 million) has been raised by agencies, organisations, businesses and individuals at home and abroad to support Covid-19 efforts.