In a few days, Vietnam transformed from virus-free paradise to panic

HANOI (Reuters) – There were so few coronovirus cases in Vietnam that every patient was known by one number: Patient 17 recovered the virus from Europe after the initial wave of infection from Wuhan. Patient 91, a British pilot, almost died.

Medical experts, wearing protective suits, collect blood samples from a woman who returned from a visit to Da Nung on July 30, 2020, at the Rapid Testing Center for Coronovirus Disease (COVID-19) outside Hanoi, Vietnam. 30 July 2020. REUTERS / BALL

Now a new number has arrived which has become a reluctant marker.

Patient 416, a 57-year-old man from the central city of Danang, tested positive for coronovirus last week after more than three months without a new infection in the Southeast Asian country.

In just a few days, a total of 47 people associated with Danang have tested positive, indicating the beginning of a third, unattainable and more about wave of infection in a country that is faster than most parts of the world. Was opened again, believing it was beaten sickness.

It has spread to six cities and provinces over six days, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and the Central Highlands.

The Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, slammed his fist on the table during a meeting on Wednesday, in which he warned that the entire country was now at risk of infection.

“Everyone, including health workers, left their guards for months before the re-production of the virus,” said Truong Hu Khan, head of the infectious diseases department at Hohi Minh City’s NHI Eye Hospital.

“People had stopped wearing masks in public and some health workers did not pay enough attention to ‘high risk’ cases.”

So successful was its fight against COVID-19 that the “new normal” epidemic in Vietnam looked like a very old one. Bars, restaurants and hotels were reopened with measures of minimum social distance in place. According to state media, in early July, the number of domestic air passengers increased by 27% over the previous year.

But in an epidemic-prone world, the oasis began to disintegrate when patient 416 went to a local hospital in Danang with a cough and fever. The last person to test positive for an infection in the community was a 16-year-old girl in April.

Patient 416 was initially diagnosed with pneumonia according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Health, and did not test positive for coronovirus until 23 July. On the first day, he visited other hospitals in Danang to help his ailing mother, and attended a party and a wedding.

An outbreak of Vietnam remained under control due to an aggressive contact-tracing system and a centralized quarantine program, which placed the coronovirus tally in fewer than 500 cases, with no deaths.

“We worked fast and fiercely in March but the virus is still spreading all over the world,” Khan said.

“We cannot disappoint our guard. This third wave is the cost for the moment of decency ”.

Test test

The origin of the outbreak in Danang is not clear.

News of Patient 416’s infection prompted a massive exodus of more than 80,000 tourists from the popular resort town. On Thursday, authorities in Hanoi said they would begin a mass test of 20,000 of the tourists who returned to the capital, as Vietnam’s human-powered contact tracing system was remodeled.

Some of the latest cases, including Patient 449, an American citizen based in Danang, who developed symptoms in mid-June, indicated that the virus had been spreading silently in the city for several weeks.

It was not clear whether Patient 449, when the patient was said to be suffering from chronic pneumonia, was tested for the virus, but before testing positive at the Fourth Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, COVID in three different hospitals viz. He was treated for symptoms.

The Ministry of Health stopped publishing test data in mid-May, when 260,000 trials were conducted.

On Monday, the ministry said it had completed 430,000 trials since the pandemic began, indicating that the trial continues to increase as thousands of foreigners returned.

However, it was unclear to what extent the COVID-19 trial was continued outside of quarantine. Khan said that some outside tests, particularly on patients with symptoms of pneumonia, were in effect, but on a smaller scale.

Although the two issues have not been officially linked, the government has made several strongly worded statements about illegal immigration in recent times, indicating that the source of the new infection may have come from abroad.

“I think it is most likely that the virus has been somewhere else, in the last two months, but how, when, or where it is currently being fully speculated,” Reevaluation, “Oxford University Clinical Research in Howe Heights, Ho Chi The director of the unit said. Minh City.

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“What is happening in Vietnam now was almost inevitable. It is almost impossible to separate the entire country from a global epidemic, ”said Thwaites

“Cases will occur”.

(This story corrects the name of ‘Khan’ in paragraphs seven, 13, 22)

Reporting by James Pearson; Additional reporting by Fuang Nguyen and Khan Wu; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our standard:Thomson Reuters Trust Theory.


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