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Lid placed on Sa Pa tea hills following Vietnam’s new Covid-19 community transmission

By Lan Huong   December 2, 2020 | 12:18 am PT
Lid placed on Sa Pa tea hills following Vietnam’s new Covid-19 community transmission
The O Long tea hills in Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province, northern Vietnam, November 2020. Photo by Bui Xuan Viet.
O Long tea hills in Sa Pa has stopped receiving visitors from Tuesday for fears over new community transmissions of the novel coronavirus.

The management board of the resort town's tea hills, an emerging tourist destination thanks to its blooming cherry trees this time of year, said the move aims to prevent the gathering of large crowds and so mitigate the risk of community transmissions.

The closure came a day after the country reported its first locally-transmitted Covid-19 case after nearly three months.

The management board had allowed tourists to visit the tea hills for free since November 27 to admire the beauty of cherry blossoms and boost tourism. However, many tourists failed to comply with the general rules like disposing of trash, damaging cherry trees and trampling tea plantations, according to the board.

In addition, many failed to wear masks or apply anti-pandemic measures like using hand sanitizers, posing a high risk of community transmissions, it stated.

Trash is seen on O Long tea hills. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

Trash seen strewn around at O Long tea hills. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

On Monday, a Vietnamese man in Ho Chi Minh City tested positive after contracting the coronavirus from his friend, a Vietnam Airlines flight attendant, breaking the country's 88-day streak without local transmission.

The flight attendant contracted the virus while in quarantine and spread it to his friend during self-isolation at home. His friend then spread the virus to two others. In all, three community transmission cases have been recorded since Monday.

Sa Pa in the northern province of Lao Cai is well-known for many other attractions like Mount Fansipan, nicknamed "roof of Indochina", terraced rice fields, Muong Hoa Valley, and a Gothic stone church at its center. The tea hills have become a popular spot for visitors and photographers in recent years.

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