Vietnam coronavirus outbreak hits factories employing thousands

HANOI (CNA) – The COVID-19 outbreak that began in the central city of Danang more than a week ago has spread to at least four factories in the city with a combined workforce of around 3,700, state media reported yesterday.

Four cases were found at the plants located at different industrial parks in the central city which collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said.

Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat COVID-19 since it first arrived in late January, is battling a new wave of the virus having gone more than three months without domestic transmission.

All but one of the four cases that media reported at the factories have yet to be included in the Health Ministry’s tally.

Vietnam yesterday reported one new case linked to Danang, a tourism hotspot, bringing its tally to 621 infections, with six deaths.

Health workers wearing protective suits collect a blood sample of a resident at a makeshift rapid testing centre in Hanoi. PHOTO: AFP

The new outbreak, the source of which is unclear, was first reported on July 25, and has reached at least 10 locations in the country, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, infecting 174 people and killing six.

One of the four factories has halted operations, Lao Dong reported, citing the chairman of the trade union of Danang’s industrial park management board.

Vietnam has carried out 52,000 tests for the coronavirus in the past seven days, according to a Reuters analysis of official data.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said yesterday that early August would be a decisive period for preventing a large-scale spread of the coronavirus, state broadcaster VTV reported, after a re-emergence of the virus after more than three months.

“We have to deploy full force to curb all known epicentres, especially those in Danang,” VTV quoted Phuc as telling a meeting of government officials, referring to the city where the virus reappeared recently.

“Early August will be the decisive time within which to stop the virus from spreading on a large scale.”

Phuc said this current wave of infection could have a more “critical impact” than the previous one and ordered officials to both contain the spread and maintain supply chains, the report said.