The Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, has suspended all outdoor sport until further notice as the city authorities seek to repel a surge in Covid-19 cases, particularly from the south of the country.

The move, which took effect at 6pm local time on Thursday, means Hanoi residents are ordered to remain home and may only leave for essential purposes, such as shopping at the supermarket.

The northern city has also suspended travel links to 14 provinces hit by Covid-19 outbreaks and postponed hosting the Southeast Asia Games – due to take place later this year – until 2022.

“The number of people traveling to the capital city is very high, with potential threat of spreading the virus in the community,” the government said.

On Monday, Vietnam posted 1,000 new Covid-19 cases for the first time since the pandemic began, and, on Thursday, registered a further 1,314 new infections.

The country initially received praise from the UN and others for its swift response to the pandemic and ability to stem the spread of the virus.

But since April of this year, it has been battling a Covid-19 outbreak that has particularly taken hold in its southern business hub, Ho Chi Minh City.

The city will enter a 15-day lockdown from Friday, which will include a shutdown of public transport. Dozens of flights have already been canceled.

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