Hanoi mandates social distancing at restaurants, cafes

By Vo Hai   August 17, 2020 | 06:15 am PT
Hanoi mandates social distancing at restaurants, cafes
A section of Ta Hien Street, one of Hanoi's most popular drinking hot spots, April 2017. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Le.
All restaurant, cafe and pub staff have to wear masks and customers must sit a meter apart starting Wednesday, Hanoi has ordered.

"Starting midnight on August 19, food and beverage places must arrange seats at least a meter from each other, partitions are encouraged. Staff must wear masks and take customers’ temperature," Hanoi Vice Chairman Ngo Van Quy stated at a meeting on Covid-19 prevention on Monday.

He said beer pubs are crowded places that pose a lot of infection risks.

Quy added that there might be more cases in Hanoi than detected, but the risk of a widespread outbreak was not high. "The city's Covid-19 prevention measures are still keeping things under control."

Standing Vice Chairman Nguyen Van Suu has asked local authorities to mobilize more staff to monitor restaurants and beer pubs. He said any business that violates the pandemic control measures faces the punishment of being shut down.

Suu advised Hanoi residents not to go out unless it was really necessary and wear a mask in public.

Deputy director of the Hanoi Center for Disease Control (CDC), Truong Quang Viet, said some people have become complacent and were ignoring disease prevention measures.

Inspections by the CDC have found wearing masks and disinfection measures in offices have not been conducted thoroughly, and some offices have not devised a response plan if an infection was detected in the workplace.

The CDC has proposed Covid-19 testing on the elderly living in nursing homes and patients with many underlying conditions currently being treated in hospitals.

Since July 25, the onset of a new outbreak in Vietnam after 99 days of having no community transmission, the capital has recorded 33 Covid-19 cases.

Of these, 10 are local infections and the remaining 23 are repatriated citizens quarantined upon arrival.

As of Monday, samples of 28,000 out of over 77,000 returnees from Da Nang since July 15 have been subjected to real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing in Hanoi and the results have been negative. Test results of the remainder are expected to be finalized Friday.

Vietnam has recorded 976 Covid-19 cases, including 487 active patients. There have been 24 deaths to date.

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