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‘Korean Streets’ in Saigon reel from coronavirus

‘Korean Streets’ in Saigon reel from coronavirus

Sunday, July 19, 2020, 18:23 GMT+7
‘Korean Streets’ in Saigon reel from coronavirus
Space for rent everywhere on the ‘Korean Streets’ in Tan Phong Ward, District, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

Many stores along the so-called ‘Korean Streets’ in Ho Chi Minh City have been dealt a blow by the new coronavirus, closing down en masse in the wake of the global health crisis because of a dearth of customers.

The Korean Streets, located in Tan Phong Ward, District 7, were almost empty on Sunday since South Koreans who frequented them are still not allowed to enter Vietnam as per local regulations on COVID-19 prevention.

The streets derive their nickname from the fact that they accommodate a large number of stores mainly servicing South Koreans.

Just a few Koreans strolled along the streets on the weekend, a stark contrast to pre-pandemic crowds that crammed the stores there.

Many stores had been closed because of a 70-80 percent drop in the number of Korean customers, including bars, massage parlors, and spas.

Four or five locations were shuttered in a row on one of the streets, evidence of the tremendous impact of the new coronavirus.

Store owners include both Vietnamese and Koreans who are unable to return to Vietnam so they have had to close down their business, said Nguyen Thi Hoa, a rice restaurateur on the Korean Streets.

They expect more shutdowns ahead as Vietnam has shown no sign of welcoming back foreign visitors anytime soon.

Over 11,000 South Koreans had stayed in District 7, including Tan Phong Ward where the wealthy Phu My Hung township is located, as of February 25, Phap Luat TPHCM (Ho Chi Minh City Law) newspaper quoted Bui Thi Ngoc Hieu, deputy chair of the district, as saying then.

Vietnam has barred entry to foreign nationals since March 22 and suspended international flights from March 25 to stall the coronavirus spread.

But the national government waives the entry ban for diplomats, experts, investors, and skilled workers on a case-by-case basis.

Vietnam has reported a total of 383 COVID-19 cases, with 357 recoveries and zero deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.

A store is closed on one of the ‘Korean Streets’ in Tan Phong Ward, District, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A store is closed on one of the ‘Korean Streets’ in Tan Phong Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A Korean store is locked on one of the ‘Korean Streets’ in Tan Phong Ward, District, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A Korean store is locked on one of the ‘Korean Streets’ in Tan Phong Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A near-empty street in Tan Phong Ward, District, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A near-empty street in Tan Phong Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A shuttered coffee shop on one of the ‘Korean Streets’ in Tan Phong Ward, District, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A shuttered coffee shop on one of the ‘Korean Streets’ in Tan Phong Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A closed-down location on one of the ‘Korean Streets’ in Tan Phong Ward, District, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A closed-down location on one of the ‘Korean Streets’ in Tan Phong Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A Korean BBQ restaurant is shut down on one of the ‘Korean Streets’ in Tan Phong Ward, District, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A Korean BBQ restaurant is shut down on one of the ‘Korean Streets’ in Tan Phong Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A hotel has been closed down on one of the ‘Korean Streets’ in Tan Phong Ward, District, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A hotel has been closed down on one of the ‘Korean Streets’ in Tan Phong Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A restaurant is shut on one of the ‘Korean Streets’ in Tan Phong Ward, District, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

A restaurant is shuttered on one of the ‘Korean Streets’ in Tan Phong Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, July 19, 2020. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

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