Vietnamese City on Lockdown After New Coronavirus Outbreak

UK variation confirmed in Vietnamese traveler to Japan.
Vietnamese City on Lockdown After New Coronavirus Outbreak A woman wearing face mask looks at her phone in Hanoi, Vietnam, Jan. 23, 2021. Vietnam has reported 84 new cases of local transmission after nearly two months.

A Vietnamese city will lock down for the next 21 days after newly detected cases of COVID-19 put to an end the country’s streak of 55 days with no local transmissions, state media reported.

After authorities detected locally transmitted cases in the northeastern provinces of Hai Duong and Quang Ninh, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc Thursday issued a directive to lock down the city of Chi Linh, where 72 cases were discovered in a single company within the Cong Hoa industrial zone.

A female employee of the POYUN Electronics Company on Tuesday traveled to Japan, where she tested positive for a mutated strain of the coronavirus first discovered in Britain in December.

Following her positive confirmation, authorities discovered the 72 POYUN cases as well as 11 more among airport security at Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh.

Prior to testing positive upon her arrival in Japan on Jan. 26, the traveler had flown from Hanoi to Singapore on Jan. 17.

By late afternoon Thursday authorities in Hai Duong reported another 11 cases, bringing the province’s total to 83. Van Don International Airport also reported two more employees were confirmed cases.

Hai Duong province set up 13 checkpoints Thursday, locking down the traveler’s home village of Kim Dien, and ordering social distancing at the Hung Dao commune within Chi Linh, which confirmed two COVID-19 cases.

Flights stopped at Van Don International from noon Thursday as authorities reassess the situation. 

Authorities in nearby Bac Ninh, Hai Phong and Quang Ninh provinces also issued orders to take preventative measures.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam told the country to prepare for a possible scenario where up to 30,000 could have been infected locally.

Prime Minister Nguyen wore a face mask to Thursday’s session of the country’s 13th party congress meeting and required all in attendance to do the same. This was a reversal from three days ago when he and most others went maskless.

Vietnam has been among the most successful countries in tackling COVID-19, reporting no deaths among its 95 million people through late July—a record that was attributed to effective contact tracing, strict quarantines, and early testing.

An outbreak in July and August centered on Danang threatened to bring the daily confirmed case total into the high double digits, but daily cases returned to single digits by the end of August. As of Thursday, Vietnam has confirmed 1,560 cases and 35 deaths.

Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Huy Le. Written in English by Eugene Whong.  

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