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Hanoi to Enforce Social Distance at Cafes, Restaurants From August 19

Beginning Wednesday, August 19 at 12am, all patrons at cafes and restaurants in Hanoi must be one meter apart from one another and staff must wear masks. 

Hanoi Vice Chairman Ngô Văn Quý said that the moves are necessary, even though chances of a widespread outbreak are low because the city has taken strong COVID-19 prevention measures.

Standing Vice Chairman Nguyễn Văn Sửu said that establishments violating the protocols risk being shut down, and called for an increase of inspections. He also said that residents should go out only when necessary and wear a mask when doing so. 

Hanoi's bars and nightclubs have been closed since July 29, while large gatherings are banned as well. That was when two patients in the capital tested positive for the virus after a visit to Da Nang. As of Monday, 77,000 returnees from Da Nang were given real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing.

About 28,000 samples have come back negative, and the remainder of the results are expected by Friday. Since the second outbreak of COVID-19 in Vietnam, Hanoi has recorded 10 local infections with links to Da Nang and 23 imported infections, who are repatriated citizens testing positive at landing.

The Hanoi mandates are not nearly as far-reaching as the social distancing and travel restrictions on-going in Da Nang since July 27, following Vietnam's first known community spread of the virus in 99 days. Hai Duong also recently established medical isolation zones after four more people tested positive for the virus in the northern city. 

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