Hanoians happy with reopening of parks

By Quynh Nguyen   October 14, 2021 | 04:39 am PT
Nguyen Thanh is overjoyed that he no longer needs to do his daily jogging on the streets as Hanoi’s parks have reopened.

On Wednesday evening, the 27-year-old living in Cau Giay District sent a message to his friends asking them to join him at Cau Giay Park on Thursday.

"After more than a month of waiting, this is the best news I've heard," he says.

From 6 a.m. Thursday the city People's Committee allows on-site dining at eateries while parks and hotels reopened and public transport resumed the same day.

So Thanh no longer needs to compete for space on the road with traffic.

People run and jog on the road near Sword Lake on the morning of Sept. 28, after Hanoians are allowed to participate in sport and physical exercises outdoors, but not in groups larger than 10. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

People jog on a street along Sword Lake in the morning of Sept. 28, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Thanh, who has been jogging for more than three years, says: "I'm always in the mood to run. I can't work out within the four walls of my home."

Earlier, after more than two months of social distancing, Hanoians were allowed to resum outdoor sports and physical exercises on Sep. 28, parks and flower gardens remained closed.

Thanh had found running on roads difficult: "The sidewalks are quite small. Some are under construction and some are packed with people doing exercises".

Nguyen Duc Nghia, 45, also of Cau Giay, breathed a sigh of relief too when he heard parks had reopened.

He too said he had trouble jogging on the bumpy sidewalks.

The city should have reopened the parks earlier, he said.

Vehicle drivers also had problems with people jogging on the roads.

Nguyen Phuong Thao, 28, nearly collided with a jogger outside Nghia Do Park three days ago when visibility was low.

"Fortunately, I braked in time and there was no vehicle behind me," she says.

But the reopening has evoked mixed reactions.

Pham Dinh Trong, 76, says a lot of people will go to parks to exercise and families will bring children to relax, increasing the threat of Covid transmission.

"In my opinion, we should have waited a little longer until the pandemic situation became more stable".

Pham Dinh Trong walks down the street near Cau Giay Park on Oct. 13, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Nguyen

Pham Dinh Trong walks on a street near Cau Giay Park in Hanoi, Oct. 13, 2021. The 76-year-old fears the city has reopened parks too soon and increased the risk of Covid spread. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Nguyen

Khong Minh Tuan, deputy director of the Hanoi Center for Disease Control (CDC), says the city did not reopen parks on Sep. 28 to prevent gatherings of more than 10 people.

Authorities only reopened parks after carefully evaluating the Covid situation, he says.

Over 4,000 infections have been recorded in the capital since the fourth coronavirus wave hit Vietnam in late April. The infections have been dropping rapidly over the last 10 days, with under 10 new cases being recorded a day.

Hanoi has vaccinated around 98 percent of its adults, accounting for 70 percent of the total city population, with at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot. Nearly 50 percent of the adults ave been fully vaccinated.

"Whether parks are reopened or not, people exercising outdoors need to observe epidemic prevention protocols and should limit mass gatherings."

Thanh is clearly relieved and happy.

"I no longer have to worry about avoiding people and potholes."

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