Vietnam records first virus death as pandemic rebounds

HANOI (AFP) Vietnam recorded its first coronavirus death on Friday as the pandemic rebounds in a country that had previously been praised for stubbing out the contagion.

The patient, a 70-year-old man, died in the central city of Hoi An nearly three weeks after being admitted to hospital with serious underlying conditions, according to state media.

The communist nation was applauded earlier this year for controlling COVID-19 with strict restrictions on movement, extensive quarantine measures and a robust track-and-trace regime.

A woman waits with her children at a makeshift rapid testing centre as Vietnam records a rise in cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Hanoi on July 31, 2020. Photo: AFP

But an outbreak over the weekend in the beach resort of Danang, near Hoi An, has put the country back on high alert.

Health officials on Friday also announced the country’s highest single daily caseload since the pandemic began.

“Elite medical experts” have been mobilised to help tamp down the outbreak in Danang, Doctor Tran Nhu Duong, deputy head of the National Institute of Epidemiology, told state TV as news of the first death emerged.

They will join “around 1,000 people including military men” heading to the the epicentre of the latest cluster, a city that had been bursting with domestic tourists until authorities announced the virus had made a comeback.

Before the weekend Vietnam had not recorded a locally transmitted infection for nearly 100 days.

But since then nearly 100 people who had travelled to Danang have tested positive across the country, leaving health authorities scrambling to snuff out the outbreak.

More details on Borneo Bulletin Weekend