Hanoi asks bars, karaoke parlors to close over coronavirus fears

By Vo Hai, Vo Thanh   March 13, 2020 | 04:52 pm PT
Hanoi asks bars, karaoke parlors to close over coronavirus fears
Tourists on Ta Hien, a popular bar street in Hanoi, September 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
Hanoi Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung has requested bars, karaoke bars and several tourist sites to close until the end of March.

Chung said at an emergency meeting Friday that the current goal in Hanoi's Covid-19 fight is to minimize spread of infections and prevent the capital city from becoming an epicenter of the outbreak. He said authorities are preparing plans for all scenarios and will inform citizens in due course.

There were 1,600 karaoke parlors in Hanoi as of mid-2019, according to the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports.

In areas with high risk of transmission like Hoan Kiem District, Chung asked people to refrain from mass gatherings. He also asked vendors to wear face masks and maintain a safe distance when interacting with tourists.

"The city is controlling the epidemic well, people should stay calm and be proactive in protecting their health," Chung said.

He only specified tourist sites that have to close down as "cultural, historical sites."

Hanoi authorities are keeping close track of tourists coming from novel coronavirus-hit areas in Europe from March 1 onnwards to request medical checks if needed.

Chung said Vietnamese returning from Europe or other infected areas need to inform local authorities and limit contact with others.

People with high-risk exposures like drivers and tour guides should quarantine themselves if they detect any symptom of the virus and call national hotline 115, he added.

As of Friday, more than 2,200 residents have been released from quarantine in military camps in the city after testing negative for the virus at the end of the 14-day quarantine period. Over 400 cases are still being quarantined. They are scheduled to be released between March 19-23.

Hanoi has confirmed seven infection cases as of Friday.

Some HCMC officials have also said they want to temporarily close bars, discos, beer clubs, and the like to curb the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Vietnam has confirmed 47 Covid-19 infection cases so far, including 31 in the past week. The other 16 patients were cured and discharged from hospitals by February 26.

The Covid-19 outbreak has spread to 138 countries and territories around the world, killing over 5,000 people.

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