Vietnam recorded its first deaths from Covid-19, a devastating blow for a country proud of its zero deaths.
The first man, 70, was from the central city of Hoi An, state media said on Friday.
A second death, of a 61-year-old man, was reported later today.
There had been no new locally transmitted infection for more than three months, before an outbreak was reported in the nearby resort town of Da Nang earlier this week.
The two deceased patients had underlying health issues, Vietnamese media reported.
The country, which has a population of around 95 million, has only reported 546 cases since the start of the pandemic.
Unlike many other countries, Vietnam has acted before it even had confirmed cases, closing its borders early to almost all travelers except returning citizens. Anyone entering the country must be quarantined at government facilities for 14 days and undergo testing.
And for a while, this approach appeared to be very effective, with no new local transmissions having been reported since mid-April.
The country has received praise for its timely efforts to contain the virus and for the care it was able to provide to a Scottish pilot who spent two months in a coma after developing Covid-19.
But earlier this week, the harsh news came that new cases had been discovered in the popular resort town of Da Nang.
Tens of thousands of tourists from across the country were in the city at the time, many of whom believed the coronavirus threat had passed.
The government initially closed the city to visitors, before ordering a full local lockdown on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc warned every province and city in the country following the outbreak in Da Nang.
“We must act faster and more fiercely in order to control the epidemic,” the journalist quoted by the media said.
What this means for Vietnam
By Bui Thu, Vietnamese BBC News
At first, traditional Vietnamese newspapers cited the coronavirus as the main cause of the death of the first man. But then, just a moment later, the story was deleted from most state media websites nationwide.
The story only appeared on their websites again when the National Steering Committee for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 finally confirmed the news.
Speaking to the BBC’s Vietnamese service, Dr Luong Ngoc Khue, deputy director of the treatment subcommittee of the national Covid-19 task force, said the person had died of a heart attack, a kidney cancer, high blood pressure and other serious illnesses while she tested positive for the coronavirus. “.
Some believe the government struggled to announce the first death for fear of public embarrassment.
But as the news was confirmed today, Vietnam is trying to conduct an aggressive prevention strategy to contain the virus, with numerous quarantine facilities and mobilizing all means and resources to treat each patient.
Since July 25, 93 cases linked to Da Nang have been reported and the city is once again under lock and key. Restrictions are also being reintroduced in many other cities and provinces.