Vietnam locks down capital Hanoi for 15 days as cases rise

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Policemen guard behind barricades set up to control the traffic in Hanoi, Vietnam, Saturday, July 24, 2021. Vietnam announced a 15-day lockdown in the capital Hanoi starting Saturday as a coronavirus surge spread from the southern Mekong Delta region. (AP Photo/Hieu Dinh)

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam announced a 15-day lockdown in the capital Hanoi starting Saturday as a coronavirus surge spread from the southern Mekong Delta region.

The lockdown order, issued late Friday night, bans the gathering of more than two people in public. Only government offices, hospitals and essential businesses are allowed to stay open.

Earlier in the week, the city had suspended all outdoor activities and ordered non-essential businesses to close following an increase in cases. On Friday, Hanoi reported 70 confirmed infections, the city’s highest, part of a record 7,295 cases in the country in the last 24 hours.

Nearly 5,000 of them are from Vietnam’s largest metropolis, southern Ho Chi Minh City, which has also extended its lockdown until Aug. 1.

In the latest wave of COVID-19 since April, Vietnam has recorded over 83,000 infections and 335 deaths.

A meeting of the National Assembly scheduled to open in Hanoi on Tuesday with 499 delegates will go ahead but was shortened to 12 from the original 17 days.

The delegates have been vaccinated, are regularly tested for the coronavirus and are traveling in a bubble, and will be isolated at hotels, according to the National Assembly.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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