Hanoi has suspended weekend activities in a pedestrian zone around downtown Hoan Kiem Lake from Friday night to avoid large gatherings in a bid to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Vietnamese capital city first deemed the area, located in Hoan Kiem District, as a vehicle-free zone on weekend nights, from Friday to Sunday, in 2016.
The area has since become a popular destination for local people and a top spot for tourists visiting the city, with regular cultural and artistic activities attracting large crowds on weekend nights.
The indefinite suspension, which took effect from the evening of Friday, August 21, means that the lake-side streets will no longer become pedestrian-only on weekend nights.
Activities will only be allowed to resume when a new order is issued by the People’s Committee of Hanoi in the future, Hoan Kiem District’s vice-chairman Dinh Hong Phong said at a municipal meeting on COVID-19 prevention and control on the same day.
Speaking at Friday’s meeting, Hanoi Department of Health deputy director Hoang Duc Hanh reported that the capital city had recorded no new case of COVID-19 since August 19.
Despite the fact, the municipal Party deputy chief Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc requested that pandemic prevention and control remains a key task, with focus placed on public communications to warn people against complacency in upholding best practices to protect themselves, their families and the public.
Ngoc requested grassroots authorities to beef up patrolling the streets to ensure sidewalk shops strictly practice social distancing rules.
She also ordered the reestablishment of five municipal inspection teams to launch spontaneous inspections into the implementation of pandemic prevention and control measures in districts and towns.
Hanoi has reported 156 cases of COVID-19, including 11 infections since July 25 when Vietnam detected the first community-based transmission — a 57-year-old male patient in the central city of Da Nang.
One-hundred and forty-one patients in Hanoi have recovered and none has died due to COVID-19.
The national COVID-19 tally stands at 1,009 cases, with 545 recoveries and 25 virus-related deaths, as of Saturday morning, according to the Ministry of Health.