Beaches that had been crowded with summer vacationers in Da Nang earlier this month fell silent on Wednesday as the central Vietnamese city reinstated enhanced social distancing measures to curb the second wave of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreaks.
Da Nang recorded Vietnam’s first community-based COVID-19 case after 99 days on Saturday.
The coastal tourist city has since logged 34 cases of community infection in total, becoming a new epicenter of the respiratory disease in the Southeast Asian country.
The government decided to reinstate enhanced social distancing in Da Nang for at least 15 days from Tuesday, similar to measures enforced nationwide in early April, when Vietnam was at the peak of the pandemic.
Authorities in the coastal city have banned crowded events, shuttered non-essential services, and stopped receiving domestic tourists to prevent the virus from spreading.
A video shows empty beaches in Da Nang City, Vietnam, July 29, 2020. Video: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre
On the second day of social distancing on Wednesday, no one was spotted on the spectacular beaches stretching the two districts of Son Tra and Ngu Hanh Son in Da Nang.
In order to enforce the social distancing measures, the management board of Son Tra Peninsula and Da Nang’s tourism beaches has fenced off all entrances to local beaches with barrier tapes, prohibiting both locals and visitors from entering.
The management board also deployed officers to regularly patrol the beaches and remind violators to obey social distancing rules.
Da Nang authorities were previously forced to cancel the Da Nang Fantasticity Festival 2020, planned to take place at the end of July, due to the return of COVID-19 community cases.
Since Saturday, 43 new community-based infections have been confirmed in Vietnam, including 34 in Da Nang.
The Southeast Asian country’s COVID-19 tally was at 459 on Thursday, including 276 imported cases quarantined immediately after arrival.
Ninety patients remain under treatment for the disease in Vietnam, with no casualties reported to date.
|In this aerial photo, no one can be spotted on a beach in Da Nang City, Vietnam during a period of enhanced social distancing to curb the latest wave of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), July 29, 2020. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre|
|An aerial photo shows a line of empty beach sofas along a beach in Da Nang City, Vietnam, July 29, 2020. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre|
|Three coracles sit on an empty beach in Da Nang City, Vietnam, July 29, 2020. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre|
|Three coconut trees stand on an empty beach in Da Nang City, Vietnam, July 29, 2020. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre|
|Tourists crowd a beach in Da Nang City, Vietnam before enhanced social distancing measures were put in place from July 28, 2020. Photo: Tan Luc / Tuoi Tre|
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Vietnam cat cafe offers purr-fect pick-me-up for rescued felines
If your idea of the purr-fect day is spending it curled up with convalescent rescue cats and a coffee, then one cafe in Vietnam has you covered.
Ngao’s Home Cafe in Hanoi is a loving home for 15 felines, many of whom were abandoned or found injured after being bitten by dogs or suffering serious accidents.
“I try to help cats with difficult backgrounds, to heal their physical and mental wounds,” said 24-year-old cafe owner Nguyen Thanh Binh ahead of International Cat Day on Saturday.
The cafe has clawed its way up the favorite list of many cat lovers since it opened last month, offering coffee and cuddles but also the chance to give the animals medicine and even engage with them on a deeper level.
|British shorthair Chien at Ngao’s Home Cafe in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: AFP|
“When I come to this cafe, apart from playing with the cats, I can hear their stories and empathize with them,” 20-year-old student and customer Le Hoang Yen told AFP.
Many cats in Vietnam are cherished pets but others are sold for their meat, which is considered a delicacy in parts of the country.
Thieves have been known to steal cats which can then be sold on for consumption.
|A customer watches a rescued cat at Ngao’s Home Cafe in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: AFP|
Owner Binh was inspired to start the coffee house, which runs as a non-profit, after spotting cats in cages, and others who had been injured by thieves.
“Once me and my friends have the cats, we first bring those who with injuries or medical problems to a vet. Then when they get better, I take them here to the cafe for even better care,” he said as he stroked a fluffy white feline, blind in one eye.
He also hopes one or two customers might be tempted to take home more than a coffee.
“I will help them find new owners — ones who really love them.”
|Cafe owner Nguyen Thanh Binh tends to a rescued cat in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: AFP|
Happiness Road leads to spectacular pass
Hà Giang, the northernmost province in the country, hosts various historical areas like Lũng Cú Flag Pole and Đồng Văn Karst Plateau, a UNESCO Global Geopark.
To reach the sites, people have to travel on National Road No 4C, or Happiness Road, which has been dubbed a legendary road with famed proper names including Quản Bạ Heaven Gate, Fairy Mountain (Twin Mountain), Pắc Xum Slope, Thẩm Mã Pass and Mã Pì Lèng Pass.
The latter pass is one of four most beautiful passes in the north together with Ô Quý Hồ Pass linking Lào Cai and Lai Châu Province, Pha Đin Pass in Sơn La Province and Khau Phạ Pass in Yên Bái Province.
The pass is located on National Road 4C in Pải Lủng and Pả Vi communes, Mèo Vạc District of Hà Giang. Mả Pí Lèng in Mông language means a horse’s nose with the figurative meaning that the peak is quite dangerous, where even mountain horses may slip and die when climbing.
Happiness Road links Hà Giang City with Đồng Văn Town and Mèo Vạc Town.
Mã Pí Lèng Pass is a dangerous pass, some 20km long at heights of 1,200 – 1,400m above sea level.
The mountain was created by the sediment of karst stone and silica limestone containing fossils from some 400 million years ago. The site also features cracks from geographical changes creating dangerous landscapes of steep cliffs and the Nho Quế River running in the middle of Mã Pì Lèng Pass and Xín Cái Pass, which hosts the boundary milestone and Săm Pun Border Gate with China.
French people came to examine the site in 1900 and hoped to build roads there, but could not do anything except provide food and ammunition to guard troops on local mountains using small lanes.
Before the Happiness Road was built, the more than 80,000 residents in the area traversed the Mã Pí Lèng Pass by hanging on ropes to climb over high cliffs.
Construction of Happiness Road began on September 10, 1959, linking Hà Giang, Đồng Văn and Mèo Vạc.
After six years of construction, more than 1,300 young volunteers, mostly working by hand, completed the road on June 15, 1965.
The road has helped improve the lives of locals and has become a tourist magnet.
S Korean violist releases music video featuring Việt Nam’s scenery
HCM CITY — HCM City-based South Korean violist Jmi Ko has recently released a music video online after its premiere was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, aiming to spread optimism during the virus outbreak.
“Music video Heal the World by Jmi Ko and the talented kids with the hope that through this music video, everyone will temporarily forget the worry about this pandemic and always find the source of energy positive amount to heal the world together,” the violist wrote on her Facebook page.
The video was made to raise funds for Heartbeat Vietnam to support families of congenital heart defects children after the COVID-19 pandemic and all proceeds will be used to support life-saving heart surgeries for children in need.
Lăng Cô Bay in the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế, listed as one of the world’s most beautiful bays in 2009 by the World Bays Club, was chosen as the backdrop for Heal The World.
To capture the best moments for the video, Ko revealed that she and other actors and musicians had to stand in the sun in 40oC heat for 12 hours.
“The footage was taken from 4am to 4pm in two days in the intense sunlight that is typical of central Việt Nam. However, all the crew, from the artists to the student actors, were trying to complete the scenes without asking for a break. I, therefore, hope that the audience can feel our positive and optimistic spirit on watching Heal the World so that we could heal and unite the world together,” the violist told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper.
Ko has become familiar to Vietnamese audiences through the violin version of Xin Chào Việt Nam (Hello Việt Nam), which has received nearly five million views on YouTube since its release in 2016.
In her return to music after a period of absence, she has launched a musical product entitled Heal the World which kicks off a musical tourism promotion project she has been working on since she moved to Việt Nam eight years ago.
“It is impossible to describe the beauty of this country and its people. I have fallen in love with Việt Nam every day. Our production team has spent a lot of time travelling through Việt Nam and captured its beauty to show you all. Let’s hope we can travel to these beautiful places again soon when COVID-19 is over. Let’s learn how to protect nature a better way,” said Ko.
The violinist said that she has been touched and felt more love for Việt Nam witnessing teams of Vietnamese doctors and nurses that have made great efforts to save patients through the global pandemic.
With 30 years of experience of performance, Ko decided to embark the journey of inspiring and promoting Vietnamese music and nature to international friends last year.
She is currently working as a music teacher at HCM City. —
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