A propaganda poster to prevent the spread of Covid-19 can be seen on a wall when a man smokes a cigarette on a street in Hanoi on April 29, 2020.
Manan Vatsyayana | AFP | Getty Images
Vietnam, once praised for its success in containing the coronavirus outbreak, is now battling resuscitation in some cases and warning that the disease could spread across the country.
The Southeast Asian country bordering China, where the virus first appeared, had not registered any locally transmitted cases for more than three months before a 57-year-old resident of downtown Danang's coast tested positive for the virus Coronavirus disease on Saturday said the Vietnamese government.
The patient had no travel history in the past month at home or abroad, the government said. However, Reuters reported that tens of thousands of local tourists have vacationed in the coastal city.
The authorities are preparing to evacuate around 80,000 tourists in Danang. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc warned on Wednesday that every province and city in the country was at risk of further infections, Reuters reported, citing Vietnam Television.
The 450 confirmed cases reported in Vietnam on Wednesday are still relatively small for a nation with around 97 million inhabitants. The country has also recorded no deaths related to the corona virus.
The renewed outbreak in Vietnam, however, underscores government's difficulties in containing the rapidly spreading disease. This also applies to a country that has been hailed internationally as a potential model for other developing countries to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
The Vietnamese government's online newspaper, VGP, said Monday that preliminary epidemiological studies showed that some of the new cases discovered in Danang have been linked to three hospitals in the city. Genome analysis also found that "this is a new type of Covid-19 that is more contagious," said Acting Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long.
The authorities have tightened the containment measures in Danang. For example, to strengthen contact tracking, limit the number of visitors and discontinue non-essential services. Flights to and from the city were also temporarily suspended.
On Wednesday, Vietnam reported new cases in its two largest cities – Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City – that were attributed to people who had visited Danang in the past few weeks.
Reuters, citing the city government, reported that around 18,000 people who visited Danang returned to Ho Chi Minh City and another 21,000 returned to Hanoi.
Resurgence in Asia
Vietnam is not the only Asian country or territory where the number of confirmed Covid 19 cases is increasing again.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam warned on Wednesday that the city was on the verge of a major outbreak that could overwhelm its health facilities and cost lives. Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese territory, had previously managed to contain its outbreak – which allowed it to avoid being blocked.
But the Hong Kong government has imposed stricter measures this week.
Taiwan, which is also seen as a success story in curbing the virus, announced Tuesday that it was investigating its first possible locally transmitted case in more than a month, Reuters reported. A Thai migrant worker who came to the island in January was tested positive for the disease just a few days after returning to Thailand, the report said.
– Abigail Ng of CNBC contributed to this report