Hanoi Tightens Coronavirus Restrictions Once More

Vietnam is on high alert for another wave of infections that has ended a 99-day streak of no community transmission.

An aerial view of the causeway crossing Hanoi’s West Lake. (Photo: HuyThoai/iStock)

Municipal authorities in the Vietnamese capital have halted large-scale events and ordered all bars, pubs, and clubs to close in a bid to avoid a flare-up of Covid-19. Yesterday, Hanoi confirmed its first coronavirus case in months, and its first one linked to the Da Nang outbreak. According to local news outlet Vnexpress, the patient was a 23-year-old worker at a pizza restaurant who had recently returned from Da Nang after a three-day trip ending on July 15. State media reported that the outlet had been sealed off and closed for disinfection.

Nguyen Duc Chung, the chairman of the Hanoi city administration, said in a statement on the city’s website, “We have to act now and act fast. All large gatherings will be banned until further notice.” He added that more than 21,000 people who had come back from Da Nang were being monitored and tested for the virus.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has warned that this current strain of Covid-19 is proving more infectious than those encountered in previous months, and says every province and city in the country is at risk. In Ho Chi Minh City, a hotel where a suspected coronavirus patient stayed was put into lockdown, with 53 guests and staff members confined to their rooms. Da Nang suspended all flights and passenger transport services beginning on Tuesday; non-essential businesses have been shut, while a city-wide ban on selling food and drinks—including takeaway, delivery services, and online sales—takes effect this afternoon. Authorities in the neighboring province of Quang Nam have closed all tourist attractions, a move echoed by officials in Phu Yen province farther to the south.

Vnexpress reports that 34 cases of community transmission have been recorded in the country since Saturday; the latest case in Hanoi was among four new Covid-19 infections reported last night. Of the three others, two were in Ho Chi Minh City and one was found in Dak Lak province, located in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.

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