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​HCMC tests 50,000 in vicinity of Covid-hit Christian mission

By Thu Anh   May 28, 2021 | 08:10 pm PT
​HCMC tests 50,000 in vicinity of Covid-hit Christian mission
People in Go Vap District in HCMC stand in line to have their samples taken for coronavirus tests, May 29, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Thu Anh.
HCMC authorities have collected samples from 50,000 people living around the headquarters of a Christian mission in Go Vap District after pool tests of 25 people returned positive.

The 25 people live in the district’s Ward 15.

Pool testing, which shortens the time it takes to test large numbers of people, involves combining samples from several of them, in this case five, and conducting one single test on it.

If any pool tests positive, then each individual sample is tested.

The tests followed the emergence of a new Covid cluster at the Revival Ekklesia Mission, with 34 of its members and 24 others who came into contact with them being found infected so far.

Following the pool tests, the city Center for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDC) on Saturday expanded the tests to collect 50,000 samples.

The 25 people in the positive pool tests live in the same neighborhood as some infected people, Dang Cong Tuan, vice chairman of Ward 15, said.

"The result means at least five are infected and community transmission has already occurred."

Testing on a large scale is now imperative, he said.

The headquarter of the Revival Ekklesia Mission in Go Vap District, May 28, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa

The headquarters of the Christian sect Revival Ekklesia Mission in HCMC’s Go Vap District. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.

Members of the mission, which describes itself as a Christian congregation and a non-denominational, evangelical, charismatic church, usually gather in a small house in a narrow alley in Go Vap’s Ward 3. They did not wear face masks in recent gatherings, investigation found.

Infections were first detected there on Wednesday after three members sought health checks after developing respiratory conditions.

Contact tracing found that the pastor’s wife, 65, was in Hanoi from April 23 to 29.

She developed symptoms on May 13 but did not get herself checked, and instead continued to take part in the mission’s activities along with her husband.

Genetic sequencing done on five of the patients in the cluster found they had the highly transmissible B.1.617.2 variant first found in India.

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