People either exited or returned to Hanoi in a hurry late on Friday evening before the strict social distancing measures for COVID-19 prevention, which had just been announced by the city government earlier the same day, kicked in.
Hanoi chairman Chu Ngoc Anh decided to enforce extensive social distancing measures under the prime minister’s Directive No. 16 for 15 days from 6:00 am on Saturday over the increase of new local infections, with the Delta variant spreading fast.
People are requested to social distance and only make outdoor trips for food, medicine, hospital treatment, COVID-19 vaccination, and working at offices and businesses that are allowed to open.
Only shopping malls, supermarkets, markets, convenience stores, mini supermarkets, flower florist and fruit shops, retailers selling essential agricultural products, drugstores, medical establishments, banks, treasuries, service providers directly related to banking activities and supporting businesses such as notaries, lawyers, registry, registration of secured transactions, securities, postal, telecommunications, transportation support services, as well as import and export services, rehab centers, social protection establishments, and funerals with no more than 20 visitors are allowed to continue operating.
Passenger transport services by road, including public buses, taxis, inter-provincial passenger buses, ride-hailing services, and by waterway are suspended, except for those serving the pandemic prevention mission, public service, diplomacy, and transportation of workers and experts.
|People exit Hanoi on motorbike on National Highway 1A in Thanh Tri District, July 24, 2021. Photo: Pham Tuan / Tuoi Tre|
The decision of the social distancing implementation was announced very late on Friday evening.
With only a few hours left before the measures come on stream, many internal migrants in Hanoi decided to return home, while capital residents staying in other provinces rushed back to the city.
The rush made the gateways to Hanoi busy from midnight Friday until the early hours on Saturday morning.
“Around 11:30 pm last night, I heard that Hanoi will apply Directive 16 from 6:00 am today, so I decided to go home right away,” Nguyen Thi Linh, a 20-year-old woman from Ha Nam Province, who was among scores of motorcyclists leaving Hanoi for Ha Nam, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper while taking a break for water on National Highway 1A at 2:00 am Saturday.
“I originally planned to return to Hanoi at 4:00 am today, but after knowing the sudden implementation of Directive 16 from 6:00 am, I immediately departed in the middle of the night,” said Tran Thien Tuong, a man from Ha Nam who is working in Hanoi.
|Trinh Van Duong, 25, from Thanh Hoa Province, waits for a ride home at a medical checkpoint on Phap Van - Cau Gie Expressway in Hanoi, July 24, 2021. Photo: Pham Tuan / Tuoi Tre|
The Ministry of Health on Saturday morning confirmed 3,991 new local COVID-19 cases, raising the country’s tally to 86,957, including 15,536 recoveries, as recorded since early 2020.
Of the latest cases, five were registered in Hanoi and 2,070 infections were logged in Ho Chi Minh City, which has risen to the top of the country’s leaderboard in terms of new infections.
Since April 27, when the pandemic’s fourth wave appeared in Vietnam, the two metropolises have accounted for 884 and 52,544 cases, respectively, in the country’s total 84,812 domestic infections.
|A smartphone screen shows it is 2:22 am at a medical checkpoint on Phap Van - Cau Gie Expressway in Hanoi, July 24, 2021. Photo: Pham Tuan / Tuoi Tre|