Walking streets to reopen as pandemic situation continues to improve

By Vo Hai, Phan Anh   May 13, 2020 | 07:00 pm PT
Walking streets to reopen as pandemic situation continues to improve
Crowds of people at a walking street near the Hoan Kiem Lake area in Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Hanoi's Hoan Kiem District will reopen its walking streets on Friday more than three months after it closed them to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

Authorities said the areas near Hoan Kiem Lake, including Hang Dao and Hang Giay Streets and the Dong Xuan Night Market, would resume their normal walking-only schedule from 7 p.m. on Friday to midnight on Sunday.

But measures to contain the disease, like mask wearing, will remain in place.

Hanoi closed off its pedestrians-only area in Hoan Kiem District on February 3 preemptively to prevent large gatherings. The capital's first Covid-19 cases were diagnosed only in early March.

In Ho Chi Minh City's central District 1, Nguyen Hue Street, which has a central square which is off-limits to vehicles, reopened on April 25 after the government eased its nationwide social distancing measures.

The southern metropolis shut down all its historical sites and tourist attractions on March 28.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on March 26 ordered all non-essential businesses like massage parlors, karaoke bars and other places of entertainment closed from March 28 as the country entered a critical stage in its pandemic battle.

The government then launched a social distancing campaign starting April 1, banning gatherings of more than two and calling on people to stay home except for emergencies, buying food and medicine, and working in factories, production facilities and businesses that involve trade in "essential" goods and services.

The campaign, originally to last until April 15, was extended until April 22 in certain localities, including Hanoi and HCMC, deemed to face a "high risk" of infection.

Now most non-essential businesses have reopened except karaoke parlors and discotheques. Measures to prevent Covid-19 infection, including wearing masks and using hand sanitizers, are still advised.

Vietnam has had 288 cases so far, 36 of them active now. There has been no community transmission in the last 28 days.

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