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Vietnam maintains fresh wave of coronavirus, despite early success in controlling outbreak



On the wall is a propaganda poster to prevent the spread of Covid-19, when a man smokes a cigarette on the street in Hanoi on April 29, 2020.

Manan Vatsyayan | AFP | Picture of Getty

Vietnam once praised its success in fighting the coronavirus outbreak, is now battling a resurgence of cases and warned that the disease could spread across the country.

Southeast Asia ̵

1; which shares a border with China, where the virus first appeared – did not register any cases transmitted locally for more than three months before a 57-year-old resident of the central coastal city of Danang was tested positive for coronavirus. on Saturday, the Vietnamese government said.

During the last month, the patient had no history of travel both at home and abroad. But Reuters reported that tens of thousands of domestic tourists were vacationing in the coastal city.

Authorities are preparing to evacuate about 80,000 tourists to Da Nang. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Fuq warned on Wednesday that there were more infections in every province and city in the country, according to Reuters, citing state television and Vietnamese television.

It is clear that the 450 confirmed cases reported in Vietnam as of Wednesday remain relatively small for a nation of about 97 million. No coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in the country.

But the resumption of the outbreak in Vietnam underscores the difficulties faced by governments in controlling the fleeting disease. This applies even to a country that has been recognized internationally as a potential model for other developing countries to manage a coronavirus outbreak.

The Vietnamese government’s online newspaper VGP said Monday that previous epidemiological investigations have shown that some new cases found in Danang are linked to the city’s three hospitals. Genome analysis also revealed that “this is a new type of Covid-19 that is more infectious,” said Acting Health Minister Nguyen Teng Long.

Authorities have stepped up containment measures in Danang, such as tightening tracking of contacts, limiting the size of the crowd and stopping insignificant services. Flights to and from the city were also temporarily suspended.

On Wednesday, Vietnam reported new incidents in its two largest cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, which were attributed to people visiting Danang in the past few weeks.

Reuters, citing city officials, said about 18,000 people who visited Da Nang returned to Ho Chi Minh City, and another 21,000 went home to Hanoi.

Renaissance in Asia

Vietnam is not the only Asian country or territory to face a new jump in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases.

Hong Kong leader Kerry Lam warned on Wednesday that the city was the result of a large-scale outbreak that could overwhelm medical facilities and cost lives. Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous territory of China, had previously managed to contain its outbreak – which allowed it to avoid isolation.

But the Hong Kong government imposed tougher measures this week.

Taiwan, which was also seen as a success story on containment of the virus, said Tuesday that it was investigating its first possible local case, transmitted in more than a month, according to Reuters. A Thai migrant worker – who arrived on the island in January – experienced a positive illness a few days after returning to Thailand, according to the report.

– Abigail Ng CNBC contributed to this report


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