Hanoi reopens historical sites, walking streets

 Hanoi reopens historical sites, walking streets

People walk on the pedestrian zone near Hoan Kiem Lake in downtown Hanoi, December 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Hue.

Authorities in Hanoi allowed historical sites to reopen from Monday while its popular walking streets near Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake will resume operation from Friday.

The move follows three weeks without Covid-19 community transmissions in the capital city.

Huong (Perfume) Pagoda, a collection of temples and shrines built amid mountains and forest in the outlying district of My Duc, will welcome tourists back from Saturday but must comply with pandemic prevention measures.

One of the country’s biggest spring celebrations, the Huong (Perfume) Pagoda Festival commences on the sixth day of the first lunar month, which fell on Feb. 17 this year. However, due to the country's latest Covid-19 outbreak which began on Jan. 28, local authorities had earlier canceled all related events.

Yen Stream where boats typically dock to carry pilgrims to the Huong Pagoda is left completely deserted, February 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.

Yen Stream where boats typically dock to carry pilgrims to Huong Pagoda is completely deserted, February 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.

From Monday morning, the Temple of Literature, Ngoc Son TempleHoa Lo Prison, and other historic sites in Hanoi welcomed tourists back after nearly a month of closure as a Covid-19 containment move.

Body temperature checks, hand sanitizers, along information boards on Covid-19 prevention in Vietnamese, English, and French have been present in many areas. All visitors are required to wear face masks and gather in groups of no more than 30.

Vietnamese, especially Buddhists, have a long tradition of visiting pagodas and temples in the first lunar month to pray for peace and luck in the new year. It is estimated over 70 percent of Vietnam’s population are either Buddhists or follow Buddhist practices.

With the pandemic situation under control, many provinces and cities, including Hai Phong, Ho Chi Minh City, and Quang Ninh, home to world-famous Ha Long Bay, have resumed tourism services.

A total of 893 Covid-19 cases have been recorded in 13 cities and provinces including 35 in Hanoi, during the latest Covid-19 wave.

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