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BackStories » Vietnam » Da Nang Restarts Social Distancing After Cases of Covid-19 Community Transmission Emerge

Over the weekend, Vietnam recorded five new COVID-19 infections, four of which are community transmissions, putting an end to the country’s 99-day streak without local infections.

Who are the community cases?

Case 416 is a 57-year-old man, a resident of Lien Chieu District of Da Nang. He did not leave the city in the past month. From July 10, his mother was hospitalized at the Cardiology Department of Da Nang General Hospital, where he paid a visit on July 16. He had a fever on July 17 and went to the Da Nang C Hospital on July 20, where he was admitted for pneumonia. 

He tested positive for COVID-19 for the first time on July 23 and the Nha Trang Pasteur Institute confirmed the result on July 24. At the moment, the patient is on assistive ventilation and dialysis with fever. He’s on antivirals, antibiotics and adrenergics.

Case 418 is a 61-year-old man living in Hai Chau District. He tested positive for the virus on July 25 and was admitted to the Da Nang General Hospital with respiratory distress and was put on ventilation. His condition worsened quickly and requires close attention. The patient has many underlying conditions including hypertension and diabetes.

Case 419 is a 17-year-old male in Quang Ngai Province. On July 14, he went to Da Nang to take care of his brother, a patient at the Da Nang Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Hospital. He returned home on July 17; some passengers on the trip were also visitors or patients of Da Nang C Hospital.

He made another Da Nang trip on July 20, feeling feverish; and returned home on July 22, then coughing and experiencing some difficulty breathing. He went for a medical checkup and was confirmed as a case on July 26.

Case 420 is a 71-year-old woman from Hai Chau District of Da Nang. She reported chest pains and a fever on July 12 and was admitted to the C Hospital on July 22. She tested positive on July 26.

Case 417 is a 5-year-old patient who arrived in Vietnam from Russia on July 9. She was isolated upon landing and is therefore not an instance of community transmission.

The three hospitals with connections to the new cases are within walking distance from one another. Screenshot via Google Maps.

Da Nang authorities are doing contact-tracing and testing all those who have had contact with the confirmed patients, though at the time of writing, there doesn’t appear to be a concrete link between the four community transmissions. However, all four have either been treated at, or visited, medical facilities in a close vicinity in Hai Chau District.

How Da Nang is dealing with the outbreak

During a government meeting on pandemic strategy that took place earlier today, July 27, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc approved a new period of citywide social distancing in Da Nang, starting from 12am on July 28. This will go on for at least 14 days.

In these two weeks, residents are strongly encouraged to wash their hands regularly and keep a social distance of at least one meter during interactions in public. Face masks are also compulsory, while gatherings over 30 people in public are banned.

Crowded events — including festivals, religious gatherings, sports activities, etc. — are cancelled. Non-essential businesses are to temporarily close, such as amusement parks, beauty parlors, karaoke joints, bars, and nightclubs. Shops, restaurants, gyms and other public landmarks are allowed to open if they impose protective measures for visitors and staff.

Regarding air travel, all passengers on domestic flights from Da Nang must fill out health declaration forms before departing. International flights, such as repatriation flights, to the city are halted. The city has also stopped receiving tourists, while air carriers are increasing the frequency of flights to get visitors out of the central city.

Da Nang authorities issued an apology letter to tourists over recent events.

Over the weekend, Da Nang authorities ordered all schools and education centers in the city to close starting from 1pm on July 26. This also comprises tuition centers and other private skill classes. Some universities have suspended classes, such as the Da Nang University of Architecture.

Ever since the new cases were reported, the city has put the Da Nang General Hospital on lockdown. About 6,000 people who are patients, their caretakers, medical professionals and staff members have to undergo mandatory quarantine. The hospital told local media today that 30 patients and caretakers have fled from the premises to avoid quarantine.

The Da Nang C Hospital and Da Nang Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Hospital are also in lockdown while COVID-19 tests are carried out.

[Top image via Tin Moi]