Vietnam has recorded more than 19,000 cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, but 7,000 of those have been identified in the past two weeks.
Over the last few days, most of the new cases identified in Ho Chi Minh City, it seems the country struggles to contain southern outbreaks.
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More than 200 employees of a Japanese-owned electronic components factory in Vietnam have tested positive for Covid-19, as the south-east Asian country struggles to contain a continuing surge of cases.
On Tuesday the Ministry of Health reported 277 new cases nationwide. Vietnam has recorded more than 19,000 cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, but 7,000 of those have been identified in the past two weeks.
Of Tuesday’s new cases, 230 were identified in Ho Chi Minh City alone. The health ministry said the highly transmissible Delta variant was spreading rapidly through the densely populated city.
Nidec Sankyo, the world’s largest maker of magnetic cards for bank machines, has suspended production at its factory in Saigon Hi-Tech Park after at least 238 employees tested positive, state media reported.
On Sunday, Pham Minh Chinh, Vietnam’s prime minister, called on officials in Ho Chi Minh City and nearby southern provinces to do more to contain the spread of the virus.
He told a video meeting with officials from Ho Chi Minh City and eight nearby provinces that the pandemic was now under control in Hanoi and northern provinces that had experienced recent surges. However the more industrialised south has faced multiple outbreaks in factories and manufacturing clusters.
Tuoi Tre, a widely circulating newspaper, said Vietnam’s biggest city faced difficulties in implementing large-scale testing and screening.
“The City Center for Disease Control is overloaded; test results are returned too slowly; the coordination of testing is not good; and isolation is insufficiently strict,” the paper said. Factories and industrial parks have failed to put anti-epidemic plans into practice, it added.
The health ministry said that Ho Chi Minh City would set up a centre to oversee testing and tracing under the control of a vice chairman of the city’s People’s Committee.
By George Russell @ FT