Hanoi, Mekong Delta wear abandoned look as Covid-19 restrictions tighten

By Giang Huy, Hoang Nam, Cuu Long, Ngoc Tai   July 19, 2021 | 09:59 pm GMT+7
Normally crowded roads and markets went quiet in Hanoi and Mekong Delta provinces as stricter restrictions and social distancing campaigns took effect.

Dong Xuan Market, the largest wholesale markets in Hanoi, with more than 2,100 stalls was closed Monday morning.
The Hanoi People’s Committee Sunday asked citizens to stay home, avoid public gatherings of over five and maintain a distance of at least two meters between people starting Monday. All non-essential services would be temporarily closed. Restaurants could only sell takeaways.


A police officer reminds a woman to close her shop on Trang Thi Street.
Businesses and services that are allowed to stay open are factories, manufacturers, traffic works, construction sites and essential service providers like food, medicines, electricity, water and fuel. Medical declaration by QRCode is required for all of them.


Authorities put ropes around the park by the Hoan Kiem Lake to prevent people from coming to exercise. The streets in this area, which are normally bustling with people, are now deserted.


The iconic Rach Mieu Bridge looked like an architect’s drawing Monday noon after the 14-day stricter social distancing order took effect. The bridge is a key link between HCMC and the Mekong Delta provinces of Soc Trang, Tra Vinh, Vinh Long, and Ben Tre.


At 8 a.m., several dozen people waited in line to buy rice at the headquarters of the People's Committee of Binh Thanh Commune in Long An Province's Thu Thua District. Each kilogram of rice was sold at VND9,000-10,000 ($0.39-0.43). Each person could only buy one bag of 25 kg rice at a time.
The rice selling point was set up by the provincial Department of Industry and Trade in collaboration with enterprises two days earlier. Local officials instructed people to keep their distance, sprayed disinfectant and screened body temperatures. On Sunday, one day before the social distance order took effect, more than 400 bags of rice were sold.


On the National Highway 1A stretch leading to the Can Tho Bridge, a Covid-19 checkpoint was erected. All drivers had to have their temperatures checked after crossing the bridge, fill a medical declaration and present a negative Covid-19 test result. In case a driver did not have a negative Covid-19 test result, he/she had to get it done on the spot. People return from epidemic hotspots to Can Tho City are required to quarantine for 21 days.


Lieutenant Colonel Vo Quoc Thai, a member of the Traffic Police Team of Cai Rang District Police in Can Tho City, and his teammates are preparing to set up a new checkpoint on the road to reduce gatherings and congestion when the volume of traffic increases.


The 30 Thang 4 Street in Can Tho City was empty of traffic. From June 24, the southern city has recorded 138 Covid-19 cases.


The Can Tho Market, one of the oldest markets in the Mekong Delta, with an area of more than 1,700 square meters, is closed and the place deserted.


Nguyen Hoang Hung, 69, who works as a vehicle repairer in the city's Ninh Kieu District, said he has never seen such empty streets.
"Normally, I earn VND160,000-200,000 ($6.95-$8.70) a day. Today, I earned less than VND50,000-60,000" he said.


Pham Do Minh Trung (left), in Can Tho's Ninh Kieu District, mobilized donors to assist staff of the Covid-19 field hospital in Binh Thuy District with essential supplies.


Le Van Viet of Hong Ngu District in Dong Thap Province, carries his fishing gear to the field. Every day, he looks for fish to feed his family, selling any surplus at the commune market.
On July 17, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh decided to impose social distancing across 16 provinces in the Mekong Delta Region. Three major southern localities - HCMC and neighboring Binh Duong and Dong Nai - had already imposed social distancing campaigns earlier this month.

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