World News

Eat it: Hanoi chef spreads joy with 'Coronaburger'

HANOI (Reuters) – You’ve got to eat it, to beat it: That’s the philosophy of one Hanoi chef who is attempting to boost morale in the Vietnamese capital by selling green, coronavirus-themed burgers.

Laughing in the face of the global pandemic, Chef Hoang Tung and his team now spend their days moulding dozens of green-tea stained burger buns complete with little “crowns” made of dough to resemble microscopic images of the virus.

“We have this joke that if you are scared of something, you should eat it,” said Tung, at the Pizza Home takeaway shop in downtown Hanoi.

“That’s why the coronavirus isn’t scary anymore after you eat a burger in the shape of the virus itself. That way of thinking spreads joy to others during this pandemic,” said Tung.

The shop has sold around 50 burgers a day, despite the growing numbers of businesses in Vietnam which have been forced to close because of the virus.

In mid-February, Vietnam said all known 16 COVID-19 cases at the time had recovered, but that changed after an influx of overseas visitors and returning Vietnamese citizens brought an uptick in cases.

There are now 148 recorded cases of the virus in Vietnam, but no reported deaths, according to the health ministry.

Authorities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have ordered that all non-essential businesses should close although some food outlets, including Tung’s takeaway shop, are still open.

Taking his grandson out for a Coronaburger, Dang Dinh Quy, 66, viewed the luminous green burger as a morale-boosting treat.

“This coronavirus is very dangerous. But if we eat a burger in its shape, in our minds its like we are already victorious,” said Quy.

“If you want to beat it, you’ve got to eat it first”.

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World News

Vietnam closes Ho Chi Minh City restaurants to curbĀ virusĀ outbreak

HANOI (Reuters) – Restaurants in Vietnam’s business hub, Ho Chi Minh City, must close until March 31 to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, the city’s ruling body said on Tuesday.

Ho Chi Minh City has recorded 39 cases of the virus, most of which were imported from Europe, and has already closed cinemas, clubs, bars, massage parlors and karaoke lounges since the virus outbreak began.

“All restaurants with a capacity of over 30 people across the 24 districts of the city must cease operations from 18:00 March 24, until the end of March 31,” the city’s ruling body said in a statement.

The move has been taken because some infected people spread the disease at popular restaurants and bars in the city, according to Vietnam’s health ministry.

In mid-February, Vietnam said all 16 of its confirmed coronavirus cases had recovered, but it has since been battling with an influx of imported cases from overseas visitors and Vietnamese citizens escaping outbreaks elsewhere.

There are now 123 cases in the Southeast Asian country, but no reported deaths, according to the health ministry. Over 50,000 people are in quarantine.

The next 10-15 days will be decisive in Vietnam’s fight against the coronavirus, Vietnam’s prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on Monday.

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Vietnam to refuse visitors from UK, Schengen countries: government

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam will deny entry and stop issuing tourist visas to citizens from Europe’s Schengen visa-free area and Britain starting from Sunday, amid concerns over the spreading coronavirus, its foreign ministry said.

The restriction will start from midday March 15 following a proposal from the country’s prime minister, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Visas on arrival for all foreign nationals are also temporarily halted, it added.

The British embassy in Hanoi updated its travel advice on a UK government website.

“From noon Vietnam time, March 15, all foreign nationals will be refused entry to Vietnam if in the previous 14 days they have been to the UK, or any Schengen country, even in transit,” said the statement.

“This restriction will be in place for 30 days.”

The Schengen area is a border control-free travel zone comprising 26 European countries.

Vietnam earlier halted visa-free travel for citizens of eight European countries.

Following the government’s restriction, the national carrier Vietnam Airlines said it would stop carrying passengers from Paris, London and Frankfurt to Vietnam from March 15, while flights from Vietnam to those destinations would still be operated as normal.

Three weeks after Vietnam declared that all 16 of its coronavirus cases had recovered, the number of infected patients is on the rise after the authorities said a spate of new infections was traced to a flight from Britain.

Vietnam has confirmed 49 cases of the coronavirus. There have been no deaths in the country.

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Vietnamese city advised to turn away cruise ship over coronavirus fears

HANOI (Reuters) – Health authorities in the southern Vietnamese city of Ho Chi Minh want to stop a Bahamas-flagged cruise ship with Italians on board docking at the economic hub on Friday over coronavirus concerns, state media reported.

The Health Department on Thursday advised the People’s Committee of the city not to allow passengers on the cruise liner, Silver Spirit, to disembark, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said.

The department said the move is aimed at “limiting the intrusion of disease into the city”, according to the report.

The ship, carrying 423 passengers and 403 crew, including “several Italians”, is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The company didn’t immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Calls to the People’s Committee and health department went unanswered on Thursday.

Vietnam’s coronavirus cases rose to 44 on Thursday, the Ministry of Health said. There have been no fatalities.

Last month, a cruise ship arrived in the Cambodian port of Sihanoukville having been turned away at five other ports after leaving Hong Kong.

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