A Hanoi official has called on authorities to “immediately punish” those who fail to wear a face mask in public as signs of complacency in the fight against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have emerged among the capital’s residents.
Pham Thanh Hoc, deputy director of the Hanoi Party Committee’s Department of Propaganda and Education, made the plea at a meeting on COVID-19 prevention and control on Tuesday.
He added that the face mask donning mandate needs to be propagated across the city for every citizen to act their role in the fight and protect themselves as well as their family and society.
“At present, local residents have become more complacent and their awareness of COVID-19 prevention and control is not as high as it was before. Many don’t even wear face masks in public places,” Hoc said.
According to observation by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Tuesday, many people were neglectful of anti-pandemic practices in the capital city.
At the Lenin Park in downtown Hanoi, some residents, including elderly people who are more vulnerable to the pathogen, were spotted sitting together in close proximity to play chess without wearing face masks.
Meanwhile, at restaurants and eateries along crowded streets, the owners had proactively carried out safety measures against the disease by ordering employees to wear face masks and wash their hands regularly while at work and arranging seats in a safe distance.
However, at many cafés, customers were still seated closely together and communicated with one another without face masks, with tables arranged at a close distance from each other and guests allowed to sit in groups of three to four people at one table.
Hanoi has asked all local restaurants, eateries, and cafés to strictly implement COVID-19 safety measures from Wednesday.
The measures include spacing seats at least one meter apart, installing safety shields, measuring customers’ body temperature, asking guests and employees to wash their hands, and disinfecting tables regularly.
Hanoi has registered 11 local infections of COVID-19 since July 25, when Vietnam detected the first local transmission – a 57-year-old male patient in Da Nang – after 99 days.
Vietnam’s COVID-19 tally stood at 989, with 525 recoveries and 26 fatalities as of Wednesday afternoon.