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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Vietnam records first Covid-19 deaths

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: AP

Vietnam announced today that 2 people have now died of Covid-19 complications, just a day after it recorded its first-ever coronavirus death, as it struggles with a renewed outbreak after 99 days without a locally transmitted case. Both patients died in hospital in Da Nang, a hotspot with more than 100 cases in the past week, more than half of them quarantined patients. The Health Ministry says a 61 year old man died on Friday night of septic shock and chronic kidney failure. The first fatality was a 70 year old who was also being treated for a kidney illness.

15 other patients with Covid-19 are in critical condition; all have other underlying illnesses. This morning, the Health Ministry confirmed 12 more cases, all linked to the same hospital. Da Nang is Vietnam’s most popular beach destination, and thousands of visitors were in the city for summer vacation last weekend, after the reopening of domestic travel. Now, authorities across the country are rushing to test people who recently returned from the coastal city.

Vietnam has been hailed as a global success story in combating the coronavirus, with no deaths until yesterday and no cases of local transmission for 99 days. But a week ago, an outbreak began at Da Nang Hospital, which has now spread to 6 parts of the country, including 3 of its largest cities, forcing authorities to reimpose virus restrictions. Before the latest outbreak it had a total of only 416 cases. Experts worry the actual number of cases in the latest wave could be far higher.

In the capital Hanoi, where 2 people have tested positive after returning from Da Nang, over 100 clinics have been established to detect the virus. Hanoi has tested a third of the 54,000 people returning from Da Nang. A banker who recently went to Da Nang for a family vacation said:

“I want to be tested so I can stop worrying whether I have the virus or not. It is for me and for the community. Since coming back, my family and I have quarantined ourselves at home. I did not go to work or see others. We must be responsible for the entire community.”

In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s southern hub, 5 people who returned from Da Nang have tested positive. The city is testing some 20,000 other returnees.

As the number of case continues to increase, Da Nang has tightened security and set up more checkpoints to prevent people from leaving or entering the city, which has been in lockdown since Tuesday.

Yesterday the city set up a makeshift hospital in a sports auditorium, and doctors have been mobilised from other cities to help.

Hoi An, an ancient town 20 kilometres south of Da Nang and a top tourist destination known for its charming old houses, stopped allowing visitors on Thursday because of the outbreak. Its pedestrian streets, adorned with lanterns, are now empty and nonessential services and gatherings are banned.

For more information on medical facilities equipped to handle Covid-19 patients in Vietnam, please refer to Bacsiday.vn.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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