(Update 1: Adds details of new cases, minor edits, changes lede and headline)
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jan 28 (efe-epa).- Vietnam has detected 82 community Covid-19 infections after 55 days without local transmission, the government announced Thursday.
The outbreak comes just 10 days before the start of the lunar new year holidays, when millions of people travel the country to visit their families.
The government said in a statement that the main cluster is in a town in the northern province of Hai Duong where the more infectious United Kingdom strain of Covid-19 has been found, while the nearby province of Quang Ninh has confirmed 10 cases.
The Health Ministry reported 80 of the cases just hours after confirming on Thursday morning the first two infections: a 34-year-old woman in Hai Duong diagnosed with the UK variant, and a 31-year-old man in the Quang Ninh.
Both have been admitted to a hospital in Hanoi, and the Ministry of Health said that it has launched an investigation to find out the origin of the infections.
The authorities have sent tracking teams to the two provinces and have ordered increased testing in the affected towns.
The cases, in a country that has accumulated just 1,551 infections and 35 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, forced the interruption of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s participation in the Communist Party Congress being held in Hanoi to elect leadership for the next five years.
The leader assured that the authorities have reacted in a timely manner and stressed the need to calmly trace and isolate cases at speed.
The prompt adoption of measures such as the closure of borders to tourists since March and the effectiveness of its tracking teams have been some of the aspects experts have attributed to the success of Vietnam so far containing its epidemic.
The Southeast Asian country on Thursday was placed second behind New Zealand in a coronavirus management rankings of almost 100 countries and territories prepared by the Lowy Institute in Australia. EFE-EPA