Places - August 27, 2021 | 07:56 pm PT

A quiet autumn in Covid-restricted Hanoi

Hanoi has entered autumn amid the echo of deserted streets, empty shops and closed iconic destinations.

Hoan Kiem Lake (Sword Lake), one of the busiest areas in downtown Hanoi during weekends, is left deserted.

In the ongoing Covid wave, which began four months ago, Hanoi has recorded more than 3,000 cases. The capital of more than 8 million people has imposed a series of strict social distancing measures since July 27, with the latest order extended until Sept. 6.

It has closed all tourist destinations and historical sites as a pandemic prevention measure.

A man walks on O Quan Chuong Street at the intersection of Hang Chieu - Dao Duy Tu at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The normally crowded Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square, part of Hoan Kien pedestrian zone and home to a series of food shops and entertainment venues, is captured on Tuesday morning.

A woman drives past ‘Ceramic Road" that spans almost four kilometers through Tay Ho, Ba Dinh, Hoan Kiem and Hai Ba Trung districts along the Red River. The mosaic is made from ceramic tesserae from Bat Trang, famous for its centuries-old traditional pottery.

Pigeons perch on the ground near the Ly Thai To Monument in downtown Hoan Kiem.

Hanoi Opera House.

Dubbed a miniature of Paris Palais Garnier, Hanoi Opera House was built in 1911 by the French. It is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Southeast Asia.

Turtle Tower, a symbol of Hanoi in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake, seen from Ly Thai To Street.

Part of Hanoi’s famous Old Quarter, Ta Hien is only about 200 meters long, connecting with Luong Ngoc Quyen, Ma May and Hang Bac streets and home to bars, street beer stalls and restaurants, attracting tens of thousands of weekend revelers.

City authorities have ordered closure of all non-essential services like bars and pubs as well as the suspension of street food services, street-side cafes and beer stalls.

Hanoi House cafe on Ly Quoc Su Street opposite St. Joseph’s Cathedral, a popular rendezvous among young Hanoians, has been closed for more than a month due to tough restrictions.

Quang An Street along the West Lake, said to be the hub of international cuisine in Hanoi with an array of restaurants serving Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Italian and Thai food, is virtually deserted.

Hanoians habitually flock to the area to exercise or cycle.

Phan Dinh Phung Street is one of the most beautiful in Hanoi and famed for its giant old dracontomelon trees.

The Red River seen from Long Bien Bridge.

Fields of reeds along Nguyen Van Huyen Street in Cau Giay District.

Sunset over West Lake, one of the most popular hangouts among Hanoians.

Story and photos by Dinh Tung