A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday.
Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said.
Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions.
Authorities yesterday reported one new case linked to Da Nang, a tourism hot spot where a case was detected on July 24 — Vietnam’s first domestically transmitted case in 100 days.
The source of the new outbreak is unclear, but it has spread to at least 10 different places, including the capital, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City, infecting 174 people and killing six.
Twenty-three percent of the latest infections are asymptomatic, the government said in a statement.
The country of 96 million has confirmed at least 621 infections, with six deaths.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc yesterday said that early August was a “decisive time” to contain the new outbreak, which he said could have a more “critical impact” than previous waves of infection.
Vietnam has carried out 52,000 tests for the virus in the past seven days, a Reuters analysis of official data showed.
The government on Saturday said that it planned to test Da Nang’s entire population of 1.1 million people, part of “unprecedented measures” to fight the outbreak.
The city imposed a lockdown last week, closing entertainment venues and banning movement in and out of the city.
Authorities on Sunday said that the strain of virus detected in Da Nang is a more contagious one, and that each infected person could infect five to six people, compared with 1.8 to 2.2 for infections earlier in the year.
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