Coronavirus fears turn Hanoi shopping malls into deserted places

By Anh Tu

Sun, 2/9/2020 | 17:58 (GMT+7)

Usually busy trade centers in Hanoi are wearing a deserted look even on weekends because of the new coronavirus scare.

On normal days Aeon Mall in Long Bien District is packed with families and children not only from Hanoi but also nearby provinces like Hung Yen, Hai Duong and Bac Ninh. On Saturday the mall was empty as the country has confirmed 14 cases of nCoV infection, nine in Vinh Phuc Province, 40 km from Hanoi.

Vincom Ba Trieu in Hai Ba Trung District, usually one of the busiest shopping centers in the capital, had just a few people on Saturday afternoon. 

Minh Truong, who takes his family to Vincom Ba Trieu every week, said: "I was totally surprised to see the normally crowded shopping mall deserted."

Most shops in the trade center had no customers while security guards and other staff were forced to wear face masks while on duty. 

At fashion stores in Vincom Ba Trieu, employees outnumbered customers. An employee at a store said: "The shop has been empty for the last few days, probably because people are afraid of crowded places ... and it is raining and cold." 

A movie theater inside Vincom Ba Trieu was also empty; therefore, it only opened one ticket counter. Typically, the movie theater is full of movie-goers, with staff working non-stop to serve customers every weekend. But now, no crowds and no visitors queuing in long lines as before.

The epidemic has taken a heavy toll on eateries too. On Saturday night this restaurant in Vincom Ba Trieu had no customers.


The owner of a restaurant in Aeon Mall in Long Bien District said if the sluggish situation continues next week, staff would have to be cut by half to reduce costs.

People are wary of going to crowded places and eating outside since the epidemic has already claimed 813 lives globally, 811 in mainland China and one each in the Philippines and Hong Kong.

The play area for kids in Aeon Mall in Long Bien District, which is filled with laughter during weekends, has been eerily quiet in recent days. 

More than two million Hanoi students will get one more week off until next Sunday as a prudent measure against the epidemic.

All other cities and provinces across the country have also announced school breaks until next Sunday or without a specific timeline.

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