Bustling streets around the Hoàn Kiếm Lake in downtown Hà Nội Tuesday night. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội's pandemic prevention efforts may have been struck a blow on Tuesday night, as many people flocked to the streets to welcome the Mid-Autumn Festival after the city's government eased travel restrictions around the city, health experts said.
On Tuesday night roads around central areas of Hà Nội, such as Hàng Lược, Hàng Cân, Hàng Mã, and Đinh Tiên Hoàng streets, were very crowded, zing.vn reported.
According to Dr Trần Đắc Phu, former Director of the Department of Preventive Medicine, Ministry of Health, these actions are unacceptable, and risk affecting the overall good results that the city has achieved.
Meanwhile, a number of COVID-19 cases in the community have not yet been found. The latest cluster in Long Biên District discovered 10 cases through screening.
"The pandemic may break out again when one F0 appears in the crowd on Tuesday night. Hà Nội is still implementing social distancing rules under Directive 15. It means that people are asked to stay at home and only go outside for essential trips," Phu said.
People still need to maintain personal protection with the 5Ks (wear your masks, wash your hands, keep your distance, declare your health status, do not gather in groups), according to Dr Phu.
The city government needed to implement measures to prevent these activities from happening again, he said.
He suggested the city's health sector should immediately screen people with symptoms of cough and fever who went to the Mid-Autumn Festival on Tuesday night.
The city also needs to have measures to properly regulate vehicles and people on the streets, to prevent large gatherings.
A child and his family join the crowd around Hoàn Kiếm Lake on Tuesday night for the Mid-Autumn Festival. — VNA/VNS Photo
Dr Nguyễn Thu Anh, director of the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Việt Nam, expressed concern about the possibility of COVID-19 cases appearing after Tuesday night's crowd.
The risk of infection is much greater as many families took their children to the street that night. Children are not vaccinated, so their risk of infection is very high, Anh said, adding that most people are only partly protected with one vaccine shot.
Anh suggested that people should be responsible for both themselves and the community. The efforts of the Government and Hà Nội could be ruined by individuals neglecting the health warnings. — VNS
Busy traffic on Đinh Tiên Hoàng Street last night. — VNA/VNS Photo