Vietnam detects fresh Covid-19 case after 99 days

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jul 25 (efe-epa).- Vietnam on Saturday registered its first case of local transmission of the new coronavirus in more than three months and has put around 50 people in quarantine as they had come into direct contact of the patient, a 57-year-old resident of the central city of Danang.

According to the Vietnamese health ministry, the man, who experienced the first pneumonia-like symptoms on July 17, has become the 416th patient of the disease after he tested positive following five tests.

This is the first local transmission of Covid-19 in the country since April 16, as all the cases detected since then were found among Vietnamese nationals repatriated from abroad or expert foreign workers, who had been quarantined in military facilities after arriving in the country.

Out of the total 416 confirmed cases, 365 have recovered, and Vietnam has still not officially registered a single death due to the disease so far.

However the surprising fresh infection has spoiled the upcoming celebration to mark 100 days without local transmission and cast doubts on the real extent of the virus’ presence in the country.

Health authorities in Danang, who are trying to trace the origin of the virus, have isolated the hospital where the patient has been admitted and carried out PCR tests on 105 people who came into contact with him, all of which returned negative.

The tracing of the virus has proved difficult as the patient had not traveled outside the city, indicating the possibility of the hidden presence of the virus within the community.

The land and air borders of the country have remained sealed for travelers since March 23, except repatriated Vietnamese citizens and skilled foreign workers in specific fields, who have to undergo a Covid-19 test on arrival and stay in quarantine for two weeks.

However, in recent days local media outlets have reported a number of cases where Chinese citizens allegedly entered Vietnam illegally, including 24 in Danang and 21 others a few kilometers away, although all of them are said to have tested negative for the coronavirus.

Due to these cases, the special national committee for Covid-19 control has urged the government to increase vigilance on Vietnam’s land borders with Cambodia, Laos and China, where a mountainous terrain makes it easy to enter the country illegally.

Vietnamese authorities have been praised by the World Health Organization for their rapid response to the pandemic since late January, when they took the first containment measures such as canceling air connectivity to China and the closure of schools.

Some of the keys to an effective prevention model have been their efficient infection tracking teams, systematic testing of everyone who has been in touch with a patient and selective lockdowns in areas with multiple infections. EFE-EPA


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