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Hanoi ensures tourist safety amid coronavirus

Tourism agencies based in Hanoi have been asked to cancel tours to areas affected by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and refuse tourists from those zones. The request is one measure taken by municipal authorities to ensure the safety of tourists during the epidemic.

In addition, agencies are requested to keep track of the health and itineraries of visitors so prompt reports can be made for any suspected cases of the virus.

Speaking at a press conference held by the Hanoi Party Committee, deputy director of the municipal Department of Tourism Tran Trung Hieu demanded that tourism agencies take steps to prevent the epidemic from tourists and employees working in hotels, tourism destinations, vehicles, restaurants, recreation centres and offices.

The prevention measures include spraying antiseptic, distributing free masks, placing antiseptic solution in public places and reception areas, reminding tourists and employees to wear masks and wash their hands.

Organisations, travel agencies and accommodations must strictly ensure safety of tourists from China and affected areas who have not yet returned to their countries after the tours.

Tourism agencies and enterprises have to update and report to the Department of Tourism twice a day, before 10am and 4pm, to constantly keep track of the epidemic.

The Hanoi Department of Tourism will inspect and supervise prevention and control at tourism destinations and accommodation in the city.

The department also directs related units to support tourists via phone number 1800556896 that is available 24/7, and information booths which receive feedback and proposals related to COVID-19 prevention from both citizens and tourists.

According to the department, travel agencies and enterprises in the city have proactively followed directions from local authorities, joining efforts to prevent and control the spread of novel coronavirus by cancelling tours to epidemic areas, refusing bookings by tourists from affected zones and regularly updating information about the disease in Vietnam, particularly Hanoi, to promote awareness.

The tourist sites have been enhancing sanitation and providing hand sanitiser at entrances for both visitors and passers-by. Staff at the tourist sites have always been ready to respond to hotlines and inquiries at the information centres.

All employees at tourist attractions have been equipped with knowledge and skills to self-protect and support tourists against COVID-19, including sanitation, wearing masks and reminding others to wear masks before entering the sites.

According to a report by the municipal Department of Tourism, it is estimated around 20,000 international tourists cancelled tours to Hanoi and over 15,000 Vietnamese tourists cancelled tours abroad, mainly to China, and over 19,000 domestic tourists cancelled tours to Hanoi from January 24 to February 17.

At the same time, tourist transportation firms have reduced capacity from 40 to 60 percent.