Vietnam, which has been praised earlier for its splendid effort in containing coronavirus across the country, seems to be in a bit of trouble now. Vietnam is locking down the tourist city of Da Nang after four people tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. Eighty thousand people, mostly local tourists, are being evacuated.
The airport in the central Vietnamese tourism hotspot of Da Nang was jampacked on Monday as the evacuation process had started. Vietnam was one of the countries that almost shifted towards normal day lifestyles after the pandemic had eased out. With the recent cases, it would take some more time for Vietnamese people to return to the regular daily routine.
Before these new cases, Vietnam had no new locally transmitted cases for almost 100 days. Social distancing measures have been introduced indefinitely across Da Nang, and all other social gatherings of people with more than 30 are suspended.
The evacuation procedure will take approximately four days, according to government officials. While evacuating 80,000 people over four new cases seems to be outrageous, Vietnam is known to be aggressive with its decisions regarding the pandemic. It is one of the main reasons why it has been very successful in containing the virus. Any new visitors now have to be under 14-day quarantine before entering the country.
“It is very well managed, and very well controlled, so if it [a new cluster] can still happen here, then it is definitely worrying to other countries that may not have quite as strict policies,” said Todd Pollack, a Hanoi-based infectious disease specialist from Harvard Medical School. “We don’t know the extent of it right now, but we have to assume that there are a lot more people who are carrying the virus,” he added.
Although the source of the new infections is not clear, the Vietnamese government seems to be very strongly suspecting Chinese illegal migrants to be the source of it. State media reported that police in Da Nang had arrested a 42-year-old Chinese man accused of being the head of a criminal group that helps people illegally entering Vietnam from China.
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