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Vietnam reports first coronavirus death after months of successful curbs

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Vietnam reports first coronavirus death after months of successful curbs

By Phuong Nguyen, Khanh Vu



A man wears a protective mask as he drives past a banner promoting prevention against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hanoi, Vietnam July 31, 2020. REUTERS/Kham


HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam recorded its first death from COVID-19 on Friday after winning plaudits worldwide for one of the most successful national responses to the pandemic.


The country of 96 million had gone 100 days without infection before an unexpected cluster of new cases surfaced in the popular central resort city of Danang a week ago.


The health ministry on Friday reported 45 new infections in the city, marking the Southeast Asian country’s biggest single-day jump.


On Thursday, Hanoi started mass coronavirus testing, shut bars and nightclubs, banned large gatherings and urged tens of thousands of domestic travellers to report to authorities.


By noon on Friday, 21,732 people had been tested in the capital, the Hanoi Centre for Disease Control said. Around 21,000 tested negative, it said in a statement, without elaborating.


Patient 428, a 70-year-old man who appears to have contracted the disease in Danang, died on Friday, the official Vietnam News Agency (VNA) said.


The 45 most recent patients, aged between 27 and 87, were linked to three hospitals and two clinics in Danang, according to the health ministry, which overnight sent a task force of health experts, along with more than 1,000 health workers, to the city.


The task force includes 65 health experts who had previously helped fight coronavirus at other epicentres in Vietnam, the ministry said.


Authorities in Danang are building a 1,000-bed field hospital to ease the burden on the city’s hospitals, four of which are under lockdown following a series of cases there.


The newly confirmed infections in Danang have lifted the total number of cases in Vietnam to 509.


Some experts say Vietnam could be paying for complacency after its initial success stopping the virus, with normal service quickly resuming, face masks used less and domestic travel surging.


Danang had been inundated with visitors taking advantage of promotions to revitalise a tourism sector hurt by border closures and international flight bans.


The current wave is traced to Danang, but the source is unclear.


In addition to what public health experts said was a “textbook” pandemic response, Communist-ruled Vietnam had earned global praise for its openness and transparency.


But articles reporting the death of Patient 428 published on the websites of several state media outlets on Friday afternoon were initially deleted or moved further down the front page.


Some outlets published new articles shortly afterwards which said the man had died from a heart attack and underlying illnesses, as well as COVID-19.


The health ministry has since confirmed the death.



-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-07-31
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It would be interesting to know how many hve died in Vietnam this year due to diabetes, hepatitis, malaria, heart disease, common flu and the list goes on and on. When is the world going to realize that this new one is of no great significance compared to the many other ailments that can cause people to drop off the perch ?

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