|Hanoi workers tend to the grass outside the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi on May 13 as tourist spots began reopening (Photo: AFP)
“After a week with no new COVID-19 cases, Vietnam's government had just eased its 22-day social distancing initiative, allowing some businesses to reopen on April 23”, wrote Katie Lockhart, a tourist staying in the country since January.
Signs of life had already begun to emerge the prior day and streets were filled with people riding their motorbikes - all good signs the city was poised to reopen as planned, the author noted.
She added that domestic tourism is resuming as well, as airlines increase flight schedules and hotels re-open throughout the country.
Though some restrictions remain in place, the southern hub Ho Chi Minh City recently lifted the ban on certain entertainment facilities and non-essential businesses, including pubs, cinemas and spas. Meanwhile, Hanoi this week also reopened its historical attractions to visitors, Lockhart continued.
“For now, recovery is focused on domestic tourism. On April 23, the Ministry of Transport started to increase domestic flights and trains to major destinations with limited passenger capacity”.
As of May 7, Vietnam had just 288 cases and zero deaths, the writer noted, adding that the Southeast Asia nation acted faster than most nations, shutting its borders with China in late January and suspending visas to prevent foreigners from entering the country.
“It may seem like Vietnam got off easy, but that's not by chance”, she affirmed.
The writer added that the country has bolstered communication work to raise public awareness of the disease, as people receive daily updates from loudspeakers on vehicles making their way through the streets.