Around 80,000 people, mostly local tourists, are being evacuated from the popular Vietnamese resort town of Da Nang after more than a dozen people were confirmed to have COVID-19, the government said on Monday. .
Vietnam, widely regarded as a success in the fight against the coronavirus, reimposed a social distancing order in Da Nang after the cases were confirmed, the first known to be transmitted locally in the country in more than three months.
A 57-year-old man was confirmed on Saturday to be infected with the coronavirus, the country’s first local case since April. Three more cases were confirmed over the weekend, followed by 11 more on Monday, the health ministry said.
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On Sunday, the government reimposed a social distancing order on the city.
The new outbreak has sparked fear among tourists to the city, and many have halted their trips.
The Civil Aviation Administration said the country’s four airlines have added additional flights and larger planes to transport people, mostly domestic tourists, out of the city.
“It will probably take four days to evacuate the 80,000 passengers,” CAA director Dinh Viet Thang said in a statement. Those leaving Da Nang have been asked to self-quarantine and report their medical condition to local health agencies, the health ministry said.
He said the 11 cases confirmed on Monday were all patients and health workers at Da Nang Hospital, where the original case is being treated.
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The hospital has been isolated and authorities are tracing contacts of those infected for testing and mandatory quarantine.
The ministry also said the virus was a new strain that had not previously been found in Vietnam. The mutated strain has a faster infection rate, but its harmfulness compared to the previous strain is not yet known, he said.