September 18, 2020

Coronavirus: Scare in Vietnam after first cases in months

Vietnam has closed Da Nang to tourists after four new locally transmitted coronavirus cases were recorded there – the first in the country since April.

Tourists cannot enter the city for 14 days and up to 80,000, mostly domestic, visitors are to be flown home.

Vietnam has been lauded as a success story of the pandemic having acted early to close borders and enforce quarantine and contact tracing.

It has recorded just over 400 cases and no deaths but nearly 100 days after its last locally transmitted case, four new cases emerged in Da Nang, a central coastal city popular with domestic tourists.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Monday ordered Da Nang residents to re-implement social distancing and close all non-essential services.

He said the response had to be “decisive” but that he was not yet ordering a total lockdown of the city.

The first new case – patient 416 – was a 57-year-old man who sought medical care on 20 July for flu symptoms.

He is now on a ventilator and, according to doctors quoted in local media, in a critical condition.

Contact tracing identified more than 100 people who had interacted with the man, but all returned negative tests.

However over the weekend, three more cases were confirmed, including one 17-year-old from neighbouring Quang Ngai province who had travelled home on a coach with people who had been at the Da Nang C Hospital.

It is not clear how the four became infected or whether they are connected but the cases have raised fears that a full outbreak could be under way in Da Nang.


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