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Visitors crowd Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi without face masks

Saturday, March 13, 2021, 15:59 GMT+7
Visitors crowd Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi without face masks
People visit the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre

Many visitors have disregarded the regulation of wearing face masks in public places for COVID-19 control and prevention at the Huong Pagoda Festival taking place in My Duc District, Hanoi.

The Huong Pagoda Festival, one of the greatest Buddhist festivals in the northern part of Vietnam, has been reopened from Saturday after the local authorities previously decided not to organize the annual opening ceremony of the festival this year for fear of COVID-19 transmission.

Since the early hours on Saturday morning, people started crowding the venue.

The People’s Committee of My Duc District set up three checkpoints at the entrances to the locale.

The organizers of the festival also constantly required visitors to comply with the 5K recommendations, which stands for "Khau trang" (face mask) - "Khu khuan" (disinfection) - "Khoang cach" (distance) - "Khong tu tap" (no gathering) - "Khai bao y te" (health declaration) in Vietnamese, by the Ministry of Health via loud speakers.

However, many people appeared to turn a deaf ear to those reminders.

A man lowers his face mask during his visit to the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre
A man lowers his face mask during his visit to the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre

At numerous venues inside the Huong Pagoda complex, many visitors were spotted maskless.

“Many people do not wear face masks. I think the organizers should check, remind, or punish them so that others can feel more secure during the pilgrimage,” said Vu Quang Tien, a visitor from northern Bac Giang Province.

People visit the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre
People visit the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre

In addition, few people spared some minutes to fill in the online health declaration forms, which can be simply done by using their smartphones to scan the quick response (QR) codes placed at different spots for visitors’ convenience.

According to Nguyen Ba Hien, head of the management board of the Huong Pagoda complex, the festival welcomed about 30,000 visitors on the opening day.

People take boats to visit the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre
People take boats to visit the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre

Hien said the organizers were aware of the negligence to COVID-19 safety measures among a number of visitors.

However, they had yet to punish any cases over the thought that “punishing people during their pilgrimage is quite inappropriate.”

“We simply remind them [to wear face masks]. They’ll all immediately put face masks on,” said Hien.

A woman walks past a paper pasted on a pillar with QR codes for online health declaration at the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre
A woman walks past a paper pasted on a pillar with QR codes for online health declaration at the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre
A maskless man washes his hands with sanitizer during his visit to the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre
A maskless man washes his hands with sanitizer during his visit to the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre
A man lowers his face mask during his visit to the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre
A man lowers his face mask while making offerings at the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre
A man visits the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre
A man visits the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre
A man lowers his face mask during his visit to the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre
A man lowers his face mask during his visit to the Huong Pagoda Festival in Hanoi, March 13, 2021. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre

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