Vietnam’s new Covid-19 outbreak dampens congress celebrations

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jan 29 (efe-epa).- After going almost two months without any community Covid-19 cases, Vietnam has recorded 93 in the last two days, overshadowing the celebratory atmosphere of the Communist Party congress in Hanoi.

Since Monday, delegates have gathered in the capital to select the leadership of the country for the next five years.

Nine new Covid-19 cases were reported by the Ministry of Health Friday, with one of them in Hanoi, which has caused the return of social distancing measures in the capital, where some streets and buildings have been closed due to the presence of close contacts of positive cases.

The confirmation of the first case in Hanoi has dampened the victorious tone with which the Communist Party’s eighth congress began on Monday with congratulatory speeches for having contained the epidemic and limiting economic damage.

Auxiliary staff and journalists working at the National Convention Center, where the congress is being held, have undergone two PCR tests since Thursday, but the authorities have not said whether tests have also been performed on the nearly 1,600 delegates who arrived from all over the country.

The other eight cases confirmed outside Hanoi Friday were in the provinces of Hai Duong, Quang Ninh and Bac Ninh. These were added to the 84 cases detected Thursday – the highest number of community infections in a single day since the start of the pandemic – for a total of 93.

The authorities have imposed a strict 21-day lockdown on the population of Chi Linh, in Hai Duong, while other parts of that province – as well as the others affected – have adopted social distancing measures while waiting for tracking teams to determine the extent of the outbreak.

Although the number of cases is low compared to other countries, the resurgence of local infections caused a commotion in the country, which had gone 55 days without local transmissions and which has accumulated just 1,651 infections, including 35 deaths since its first case.

The Hanoi authorities announced that they will increase the number of PCR tests in the coming days, with a maximum capacity of 10,000 a day, while state television, controlled by the Communist Party, warned that citizens must prepare for a scenario of 30,000 cases if the outbreak is not controlled quickly.

The outbreak occurred one week before the start of the Lunar New Year, Vietnam’s biggest holiday, when millions of people travel across the country to sightsee and visit family. EFE-EPA


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