Vietnam sees first death as cases spike

Vietnam reports first virus death after months of successful countermeasures

Vietnam reports first virus death after months of successful countermeasures

Vietnam has recorded 45 new cases of COVID-19 - its highest single daily tally since the pandemic began - as an outbreak in the resort city of Danang erodes the country's efforts to stay virus-free.

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

Vietnam reported 37 more novel coronavirus infections late on Friday, bringing the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 546. More than 100,000 people have been confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus in the country.

Before the weekend Vietnam had not recorded a locally transmitted infection for almost 100 days. But a week ago an outbreak began at the Da Nang hospital.

Since then almost 100 people who had travelled to Danang have tested positive across the country, leaving health authorities scrambling to snuff out the outbreak.

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Dr Kidong Park, World Health Organisation representative in Vietnam, told Reuters in an emailed statement that Vietnam had been preparing for the possibility of wider community transmission, after the country reported its first case in January.

In Hanoi, where two people have tested positive after returning from Da Nang, over 100 clinics have been set up with test kits to detect the virus. Hanoi is expected to test about 21,000 people who declared that they had recently returned from Da Nang.

"The COVID-19 outbreak is no longer an issue in Da Nang only when we have recorded cases in Quang Nam, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City among other locations", acting health minister Nguyen Thanh Long said. The popular destination was put under lockdown Tuesday, and testing and business restrictions increased in other areas.

Hoi An, an ancient town and top tourist destination known for its charming old houses 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Da Nang, stopped allowing visitors on Thursday because of the outbreak.

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