Empty streets, crowded stores as Vietnam gets set for social distancing

By Quynh Tran, Ngoc Thanh   April 1, 2020 | 03:52 pm GMT+7
Residents in the country's two largest cities flocked to supermarkets and ATM booths hours before the country entered 15 days of social distancing Wednesday. 
A man drives past the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in downtown Saigon, which looked forlorn on the afternoon of March 31. Vietnam started a nationwide social distancing campaign from Wednesday, not allowing gatherings of more than two people, asking people not to leave their homes.  The curfew imposition would last 15 days, under a directive issued Tuesday by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. 

A man drives past a deserted Notre Dame Cathedral in downtown Saigon on the afternoon of March 31. 

Vietnam started a nationwide social distancing campaign from Wednesday, not allowing gatherings of more than two people and asking people not to leave their homes. The campaign will last 15 days.

Pham Van Dong Boulevard leading to Tan Son Nhat Airport, the countrys largesr and busiest was no longer crowded and jammed during rush hours as usual. Vietnam also suspended all international flights carrying passengers into Vietnam as well as limited domestic flights in 15 days from Wednesday. 

Pham Van Dong Boulevard leading to Tan Son Nhat Airport is not crowded as it normally is. 

Vietnam has suspended all inbound international flights and reduced domestic flights for 15 days from Wednesday.

Tam Vu Park in Binh Thanh District had only a few of people. Entertainment areas for kids suspended operation. Since March 28, authorities in HCMC closed public parks, kids playgrounds and sports facilities following Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phucs order, banning crowds of more than 20 people and ordering localities to close non-essential shops until April 15 as the country enters a decisive two-week phase in its Covid-19 fight 

Tam Vu Park in Binh Thanh District has few people and kids’ amusement areas have been closed. 

Since March 28 HCMC authorities have closed public parks, kids' playgrounds and sports facilities following the government’s orders banning crowds of more than 20 people and ordering the closure of "non-essential" shops until April 15 as the country enters a "decisive" two-week phase in its Covid-19 fight.

Just hours before the country entered a 15-day nationwide curfew, Saigonese flocked to Coopmart supermarket in District 9 to hoard goods. Many supermarkets in the city were flooded with throngs of customers, hunting for items such as rice, vegetables, noodles and dried food.Nguyen Anh Duc, general director of supermarket chain Saigon Co.op, said 300 supermarkets of the whole system will still operate normally in the coming days, ensuring daily needs for people for at least three months while city government many times called on residents to stay calm as the city of 13 million people has enough food and daily necessities to provide for them. 

Just hours before the country entered the 15-day social distancing campaign, Saigonese flocked to Co.op supermarket in District 9 to buy up goods. Many supermarkets in the city were flooded with customers hunting for items such as rice, vegetables, noodles, and dried foods.

Nguyen Anh Duc, general director of supermarket chain Saigon Co.op, said 300 stores would operate normally, ensuring people's daily needs are met for at least three months.

The city government has many times called for calm, assuring there is enough food and daily necessities to provide the 13 million residents.

On Pham Van Dong Street, residents queued up to withdraw moent at an ATM booth for fears of travel curfew in the coming days. 

On Pham Van Dong Street, residents queued up at an ATM booth to withdraw money for fear there could soon be a ban on leaving home.

Mien Dong bus station in Binh Thanh District at 6 p.m. Tuesday only had a few vehicles parking and waiting for last trips while bus stops became deserted with passengers having their body temperature checked and making health declarations. From April 1, HCMC also stopped transporting passengers on buses, taxis, ride-hailing services and contracted cars for 15 days.The station has buses going to destinations all over northern and central Vietnam as well as the citys eastern neighbors such as Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Binh Phuoc. However, city authorities had suspended all passenger buses that travel to other provinces for two weeks, starting last Friday.

Mien Dong bus station in Binh Thanh District at 6 p.m. on Tuesday only had a few vehicles waiting to leave on their last trips. Passengers had their temperature scanned and had to make health declarations. 

The station has buses going to north and central Vietnam and eastern neighbors such as Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Binh Phuoc. However, city authorities had restricted passenger transport from the city to other provinces from last Friday.

In the downtown area, many urban order teams were divided into small groups to remind residents  not gathering in crowds to limit the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. As of Wednesday, HCMC has reported 49 infection cases, with 12 of them discharged from hospitals. 

In the downtown area, many urban order teams were divided into small groups to remind residents not to gather in crowds to limit the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As of Wednesday HCMC has had 49 Covid-19 cases, and 12 of them recovered and were discharged from hospitals.

At 6: 30 p.m. residents go out and do exercise around Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake. Earlier, city chairman Nguyen Duc Chung called on all residents in the capital, especially those above 60, to stay at home for two weeks amid complicated development of the novel coronavirus, with Hanoi recording the highest number of infections in the country at 89. 

Some people exercise at the Hoan Kiem Lake in downtown Hanoi at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The area around Hanois St. Joseph Cathedral looked forlorn with all business services closed while religious gatherings and mass ceremonies inside the church were canceled to prevent the crowds. Of the 212 Covid-19 patients confirmed in Vietnam until now, 58 have been cured and discharged from hospitals.  Most of the active cases are those who have returned from Europe and the U.S. and people who’ve had close contact with them.  The Covid-19 pandemic has spread to 202 countries and territories, claiming over 42,000 lives.

Peace engulfs Hanoi's St. Joseph Cathedral as religious ceremonies have been canceled and shops nearby closed.

 
 
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