Hanoi orders closure of bars, karaoke venues and roadside stalls hinh anh 1On Ta Hien street (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - Starting on August 1, all bars, karaoke venues and roadside stalls will have to close and large gatherings are banned in Hanoi, the city’s authorities announced on July 31 morning, as the country has reported tens of locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases over the past days. 

Restaurants and malls are still allowed to open but social distancing measures will need to be applied, Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung said during a meeting on COVID-19 prevention and control. 

Chung said the risks of virus spreading in Hanoi is high as there are an estimated 54,000 people – double the figure available on July 27 – returning from the virus-hit central region since July 7. 

Tourists' favourites, Da Nang City and Quang Nam province, have become the latest coronavirus hotspots in the country in recent days with 79 and 16 cases recorded respectively, since the discovery of Patient No.416 on July 25 which marked the end of a 99-day streak of no new domestic community infections in Vietnam. 

In the last two days, Hanoi has tested 18,500 people via quick testing methods and planned to finish testing all 54,000 people by August 1. 

10 tests have returned positive – two in Nam Tu Liem district, one in Hoang Mai district, six in Gia Lam district, and one in Thanh Xuan district. 

All positive cases will be tested again via PCR diagnostics to confirm the infection, Nguyen Khac Hien, Director of the municipal Health Department, said at the meeting. 

So far, eight of the suspected positive cases have been confirmed as negative while two in Gia Lam are still awaiting the final results. 

Truong Quang Viet, deputy head of Hanoi’s Centre for Disease Control, said that there might be still a number of COVID-19 cases popping up in Hanoi in the coming days, and the health workers are relying on both testing results and symptom reports to screen and trace cases. 

Out of 253 returning from Da Nang who reported COVID-19 symptoms, 166 have been confirmed as negative while the results for the remaining 87 are pending, Viet said. 

Viet warned that a number of quick testing sites in some districts in the city are facing overcrowding as the number of people coming to get tested surpassed initial expectations, given that many who have come into close contact with the returnees from central regions also want to get tested. 

Chung demanded that Hanoi CDC do its best to provide a sufficient amount of quick test kits for districts in the city to meet the goal of finishing testing for returnees from virus-hit regions. 

He asked for continued monitoring of all people returning from Da Nang and Quang Nam since July 8, especially those coming back on trains and coaches. 

Hanoi so far recorded two SARS-CoV-2 positive cases, both of them have travelled to Da Nang. 

The commerce department is tasked with preparing goods and watching the market to prevent surges in prices of essential goods. 

The education department was asked to ensure hygiene for the upcoming high school examination scheduled for August 8-10.

HCM City has also ordered a shutdown of its bars, discos, karaoke venues and many types of large gatherings including non-urgent fairs and conferences, starting July 31, as the city received a large number of people returning from the central region after holidays./.