Covid 19 coronavirus: Vietnam records first death after virus re-emerges

Health staff takes samples of people in Mai Dinh commune Soc Son district who have returned from Da Nang city

Health staff takes samples of people in Mai Dinh commune Soc Son district who have returned from Da Nang city

The city is where the virus re-emerged in the country last week after 100 days.

Vietnamese state media reported on Friday the country's first ever death of a person with the coronavirus as it struggles with a renewed outbreak after 99 days without any cases. The ministry on Friday began testing thousands of people in the capital and elsewhere as it sought to contain the new outbreak. Around 21,000 tested negative, it said in a statement, without elaborating. It shut bars and nightclubs, extending those closures to street food stalls and karaoke lounges from midnight on Friday.

The Thanh Nien newspaper said a 70-year-old man died after contracting the disease while being treated for a kidney illness at a hospital in Da Nang where more than 90 cases have been reported over the past week. The 45 new cases, aged between 27-87, include 33 patients related to Da Nang Hospital, four from Da Nang Lung Hospital, two from Da Nang Oncology Hospital, four from a hotel where Da Nang Hospital's hemodialysis patients are quarantined in Son Tra district, and two at Cam Le health clinic.

The ministry overnight sent a special task force of health experts, along with more than 1,000 health workers, to Danang to help handle the deteriorating situation there, it said.

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The communist state has won praise for its handling of the virus - reporting just 509 infections in total, including those from the new wave, and no deaths despite sharing a long border with China.

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. "We must be responsible for the entire community". That changed on Friday, reports the BBC.

The Health Ministry has not confirmed the death.

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