Hanoi pedestrian zone returns to its bustling ways

By Giang Huy   May 16, 2020 | 07:29 pm GMT+7

Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake area reopened Friday night after a prolonged Covid-19 provoked closure to an immediate resumption of its energetic buzz.

On Friday night, thousands of Hanoians flock to the pedestrian-only zone around the capitals iconic Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake during the first night of reopening.The area spans through 16 streets where vehicles are off-limits from 7 p.m.to midnight on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. However, Hanoi closed off its pedestrians-only area in Hoan Kiem District on February 3 preemptively to prevent large gatherings. The capitals first Covid-19 cases were diagnosed only in early March.

Friday night saw thousands of Hanoians return to the pedestrian zone around the capital's iconic Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake, although most of them were not wearing face masks, as advised by the authorities. Vehicles are off-limits from 7 p.m. to midnight on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The area had been closed since February 3 as a measure to prevent large gatherings. The capital's first Covid-19 case was confirmed more than a month later, on March 7.

Fences are put up to prevent vehicles from moving inside the pedestrian zone, with police officers standing on guard to ensure safety and order.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.

On weekend evenings, barricades manned by city police are put up to prevent the entry of vehicles into the pedestrian zone.

A kid rides on an electric car at the pedestrian zone. Electric car rental service for kids is always busy during the weekends, with prices of VND50,000 ($2.2) for a 20-minute-ride.

A boy rides an electric toy truck in the pedestrian zone. The electric vehicle rental service for kids is highly popular during weekends, costing VND50,000 ($2.2) for a 20-minute drive.

Hanoi has earmarked several streets, including Dinh Tien Hoang, Hang Khay, Le Thach, and Trang Tien, for pedestrians only since September 2016 to enliven the city and attract more foreign visitors.Before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in late January, foreign visitors came in large numbers with about 3,000 to 5,000 people on average on daytime and from 15,000 to 20,000 people in the evening.Since Vietnam banned entries for all foreign nationals and halted international flights to control the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of foreign tourists to Hanoi was hit hard. The number of visitors to the capital during the first four months this year dropped by 60 percent year-on-year to 3.89 million due to the pandemic. Nearly 964,000 of these were foreigners, down 59 percent. 

Hanoi pedestrian zone, launched September 2016, includes Dinh Tien Hoang, Hang Khay, Le Thach, and Trang Tien streets immediately surrounding the lake. Before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in late January, foreign visitors joined the local crowd in large numbers, estimated at about 3,000 to 5,000 people on average during the day and from 15,000 to 20,000 in the evening.

With Vietnam banning entry for all foreigners since late last month and closing all tourist attractions, the number of visitors to Hanoi in the first four months of this year dropped 60 percent year-on-year to 3.89 million. Nearly 964,000 of these were foreigners, down 59 percent. 

A group of young people perform street dance on Trang Tien Street.

A group of young people perform dance on Trang Tien Street.

Business services inside Dong Xuan night market resume operation after more than three months of temporary shutdown.

The Old Quarter night market has also resumed business after the long closure of several months.

A family pose for a photo at the fountain right at Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square, a favorite shooting spot for visitors.

A family takes photographs in front of the fountain at the Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square.

The country lifted its social distancing campaign since April 23. 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 eased its social distancing restrictions on April 23. 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.

[Caption]aaA couple rush to find a shelter following a sudden downpour at 8:30 p.m. Friday. 

A couple rush to find a shelter following a sudden downpour at 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Many historical relics in Hanoi reopend Thursday after remaining closed for more than a month to contain the coronavirus. The city has recorded the highest number of infection cases in the country at 124; all of them have been discharged.Saturday morning marks day 30 that Vietnam has gone without recording any Covid-19 case caused by community transmission.The Health Ministry confirmed one new Covid-19 patient Saturday morning, raising the active cases in Vietnam to 54.

Many historical sites in Hanoi have reopened Thursday after remaining closed for more than a month.

The city recorded the highest number of infection cases in the country at 124; all of whom have been discharged after treatment.

Saturday marks the 30th day that Vietnam has gone without recording any coronavirus infection caused by community transmission. The country's count of active Covid-19 patients is 58.

 
 
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