Hanoi bans outdoor New Year's Eve programs over Covid
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People attend a countdown event near Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake in downtown Hanoi, December 31, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
Hanoi will allow no outdoor programs on New Year's Eve while the central towns of Hue and Hoi An will suspend a series of countdown events due to the worsening pandemic situation.
Authorities in Hanoi have decided not to organize fireworks shows and outdoor countdown events on New Year's Eve as in previous years in order to prevent the gathering of large crowds amid the surge in daily infections over the past weeks.
The capital city of more than 8 million people has recorded over 42,000 infections during the fourth coronavirus wave that hit the country late April. It has seen a surge in daily infections over the past two weeks, becoming the country's Covid epicenter, prompting local authorities to suspend on-site dining in many downtown districts and tighten pandemic prevention measures.
Hoi An will also cancel an art program planned December 31 to welcome the New Year as the town has recorded a series of community transmissions over the past days with unclear transmission source.
The ancient town plans to welcome over 400 domestic tourists on tour packages containing visits to the town and local traditional craft villages with strict pandemic prevention measures on the first day of 2022.
Authorities in Thua Thien-Hue Province have also decided to suspend a countdown event scheduled to be held in the downtown area of Hue on New Year’s Eve and to postpone the January 1 launch of a night street zone around Hue's Imperial Citadel.
Over the past week, Thua Thien Hue has recorded nearly 400 new infections every day, more than half of which are community transmissions.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had last week ordered a ban on large gatherings during the New Year and Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays over the worsening pandemic situation and rising concerns about the Omicron variant.
HCMC is among several localities to have announced to cancel New Year's Eve firework shows.