“A summer holiday” of Hoi An people

After a long period under summer heat, there was light rain causing the temperature to cool down on the first day of Hoi An imposing the social distancing policy for the second time.

Life in Hoi An has become quiet and calm during social distancing (Photo: NDO/Ninh Nguyen)
Life in Hoi An has become quiet and calm during social distancing (Photo: NDO/Ninh Nguyen)

A new principal of disease prevention

The second social distancing period was humorously called an “early summer holiday” by Hoi An people, while the first was named a “prolonged Tet holiday”.

In the evening, birds sang over small rivers which run along the wards of Cam Thanh and Cam Chau, reminding of busy days when the ancient city was full of visitors. While people avoid direct contact and gatherings, nature found its ideal time to boast its beauty, which can be seen in the endless green lines of coconut trees along Hoai River.

Being aware that there would be no guests visiting her shop on the coming days, Vo Thi Lien closed her clothes shop in Phan Chau Trinh Street. She explained that as the COVID-19 situation become more complicated in Da Nang, it would soon impact on its neighbouring city of Hoi An.

Other clothes shops and stores in the downtown of Hoi An had shut down even before the social distancing policy was announced.

After closing his Mun cafeteria in Nguyen Duy Hieu Street, Ha Van Cong saw empty streets without laughter and footsteps of people. The old streets have been familiar to Cong for more than 20 years, and over 40 years for Lien. Both of them were born, grew up, and run their businesses there. They can even remember every alley and street by heart.

Lien said that during the first time experiencing social distancing, she felt fear as if she was walking in another city which was not her dear hometown but a strange place.

The first day of the second social distancing period was a sad day as Vietnam recorded the first COVID-19 death, who was a 70-year-old resident of Hoi An! His residential area was then put under strict social distancing discipline.

Hoang Thi Phuong, owner of a groceries in Cua Dai Street, Cam Chau District, said the although the closure of her shop badly affected her family’s living, she was willing to do it for the health of herself and that of her family and community.

Bearing in mind that health is everything, she remains optimistic that everything will be OK and difficult days will be over.

A new principal of self-consciousness for disease prevention has been established and practiced among every Hoi An citizen.

After storm, the sun will shine again

“A summer holiday” of Hoi An people ảnh 1

Spraying chemical to disinfect Hoi An streets (Photo: NDO/Ninh Nguyen)

A resident in Cam Chau Ward decided to head to the concentrated quarantine area after returning from Da Nang rather than going home to mourn his father’s death. Although each Hoi An citizen had his own story, plan and thought before and during the COVID-19 hit the city, they now share a common goal of protecting health for people and uniting in the surpassing the pandemic.

So are foreigners in Hoi An. They avoided gatherings and parties at weekends while strictly observed social distancing regulations.

Mark, a Canadian man who is living in Hoi An, recalled his trip to his friend’s family in the rural district of Tien Phuoc, Quang Nam Province, at the beginning of this year. He wondered why his friend didn’t hug their parents, and questioned about the bond among the family members.

However, when COVID-19 hit his hometown in Ottawa, people there also avoided hugs. He then realised that Vietnamese people had been one step ahead. They don't hug each other and are very serious in dealing with the pandemic.

After Hoi An City and districts throughout Quang Nam Province relaxed from its first social distancing period and entered the “new normal” state, Mark breathed a sigh of relief and changed his description on Facebook to "Soldier, Vietnam".

During its second social distancing, Hoi An people have arranged their life and have a calmer attitude in the COVID-19 fight.

It was not until the second social distancing that Hoi An people became worried about the upcoming situation of the pandemic. They had concerns since the first period of social distancing was lift and the city entered the “new normal” state, because Hoi An is a favourite destination of travellers worldwide. Reopening door for international tourists hides considerable risks to the locality.

Life in Hoi An became quiet and calm those days. There have been deaths, patients and quarantined people due to COVID-19. However, even after the worst storm, the sun will shine again. And Hoi An, true to its meaning in Vietnamese, will be a peaceful rendezvous again.