Vietnam reports first virus outbreak in nearly two months

HANOI (AFP) – Vietnam recorded its first coronavirus outbreak in almost two months yesterday, with more than 80 new cases reported as authorities began testing tens of thousands of people to contain the spread.

The infections were detected in northern Vietnam, with one cluster linked to a case of the more contagious coronavirus variant first spotted in Britain.

The figure was a new daily record for the communist nation, which has been widely praised for its handling of the pandemic – recording just over 1,500 cases before the new cluster and only 35 deaths.

The latest outbreak in the provinces of Hai Duong and Quang Ninh is “more complicated and serious” than anything Vietnam has dealt with before, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said.

“We aim to isolate and fight the outbreak to prevent its spread as quickly as possible.”

In Hai Duong province, the cases are thought to be linked to a factory worker who tested positive for the virus when she landed in the Japanese city of Osaka. She was found to have the British variant.

The town where the factory is located has been closed off, while medical workers are rushing to test tens of thousands of people in the area.

In Quang Ninh, which is on the border with China, one of those infected is a security official at Van Don airport, where international passengers have been arriving before being sent into mandatory quarantine.

The airport has been shut while passenger vehicles are banned from leaving or entering the province.

A man wearing a face mask walks past a public health campaign banner to stop the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Hanoi yesterday. PHOTO: AFP