Vietnam records 40 new coronavirus cases as Hai Duong outbreak still hard to control

By Le Nga, Thu Anh   February 15, 2021 | 04:26 am PT
Vietnam records 40 new coronavirus cases as Hai Duong outbreak still hard to control
Medical workers collect swab samples for Covid-19 testing in Hai Duong Province. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Health.
Vietnam confirmed 40 more coronavirus cases in Hanoi and northern Hai Duong Province Monday evening, putting the tally of the new wave at 677.

Two patients in Hanoi are a 24-year-old woman in Ba Dinh District and a 43-year-old Japanese man in the Somerset West Point hotel of Tay Ho District, both associated with a deceased Japanese man who stayed at the hotel and was found dead before being confirmed a Covid-19 patient Monday morning. His cause of death is yet to be determined.

The two have been in close contact with the deceased man at a meeting on Feb. 2, according to the Hanoi Center for Disease Control (CDC). They are now being treated at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, according to the Ministry of Health.

The deceased man had been quarantined for two weeks upon entering HCMC from Japan, during which time he tested negative for the coronavirus twice. Then he flew to Hanoi on February 1 before being found dead on February 13.

Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long has said it's more likely that he was infected in Hanoi.

Chu Xuan Dung, Hanoi's vice chairman, on Monday ordered local authorities to close street restaurants, coffee shops and historical and religious sites from Tuesday to prevent further Covid-19 spread.

The 38 other patients are in Hai Duong, all being close contacts of previously confirmed coronavirus cases. They are being treated at local field hospitals.

Hai Duong, the epicenter of a new coronavirus outbreak that has swept through 13 cities and provinces since late last month, would undergo social distancing starting Tuesday for 15 days to stem the spread of the virus.

Minister Long said at a Monday meeting that extinguishing outbreaks in the province, home to more than two million people, has been difficult as contact tracing and testing are not being carried out fast enough.

Long said infection sources still lurk inside the community despite authorities having collected and tested around 90,000 people, as people are getting infected faster than they could be traced, tested and isolated.

Mismanagement inside quarantine zones is also an issue, as the sheer number of people inside such zones combined with improper quarantine procedures means there were cross-infections inside the zones themselves, he said.

As a result, Long has requested Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to put all large centralized quarantine zones in Hai Duong under the management of the army instead of civilians.

Vietnam's total Covid-19 infection tally is now 2,269, including 690 active cases. Around 150,000 are in quarantine nationwide, either in hospitals, quarantine zones or at home.

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