Fireworks displays seen from the Landmark 81, Vietnam's highest building in Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
HCMC authorities decided Monday to cancel firework displays planned for the April 30 Reunification Day celebrations amid high risk of a new Covid-19 outbreak.
The decision was made by municipal Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong on the grounds of the pandemic situation becoming “complicated” in neighboring countries like Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.
“Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has ordered localities not to organize unnecessary crowded events. It’s hard to control crowds at fireworks shows and the new Covid-19 variants spread very quickly,” Phong said.
Last week, the city had announced a total of five fireworks displays to celebrate the National Reunification Day on April 30.
Phong also asked relevant agencies to impose tougher punishments on those failing to wear face masks in public places, entertainment venues and public means of transportation.
On Sunday, the HCMC Pasteur Institute confirmed that 85.7 percent of infected samples taken from imported Covid-19 cases from Cambodia contain the U.K. variant, and 14.3 percent have the South African variant.
Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long has warned that Vietnam faces a great risk of imported Covid-19 infections with double mutant variants.
Several Southeast Asian countries including Cambodia, Laos and Thailand have been struggling with a significant surge in community transmissions linked to new variants.
Vietnam has gone over one month without Covid-19 community transmissions and several popular tourist destinations including Quang Ninh, Khanh Hoa and Hai Phong have planned fireworks shows and tourism festivals during the upcoming holiday, April 30-May 3.
Fireworks displays to mark major national celebrations like the Lunar New Year holiday or Tet, Reunification Day on April 30 and Independence Day on September 2 are a long-standing tradition in Vietnam.