Vietnam on Tuesday confirmed six patients linked to current Covid-19 hotspots and another who returned from the Philippines.
Patients numbered 977 and 978 are both men, 46. They contracted the disease after visiting a beef restaurant in Hai Duong Town, the capital of the namesake northern province, that has now become a Covid-19 hotpot with nine cases related. The first case of this cluster was confirmed on August 12 as a 63-year-old man working as a security guard there. His source of transmission is yet to be identified.
“Patient 979” is a 33-year-old woman in Tay Ho District of Hanoi. She visited Da Nang on July 22-25. As the central city became a Covid-19 outbreak, her samples were taken for tested and the results came back positive Monday.
“Patient 980” is 37. She returned to Vietnam from the Philippines on a repatriation flight that landed in southern Can Tho City on August 15. Upon entry, she was sent straight to a quarantine camp where she tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Patients 981-983 are residents aged 15-90 in Quang Nam Province which borders Da Nang. They all got infected from the outbreak in the central city.
With the seven new cases, Vietnam’s Covid-19 count has risen to 983. Of them, 481 are active, 478 have recovered, and 24 have died.
Since July 25 when community transmissions returned to Vietnam after three months, 505 of such cases have been recorded at 15 cities and provinces, including Hanoi and HCMC with 11 cases each.
Most locally transmitted infections so far are linked to the outbreak in Da Nang, which has recorded 350 cases.
The global Covid-19 death toll has topped 776,700.
Hanoi mandates social distancing at restaurants, cafes
All restaurant, cafe and pub staff have to wear masks and customers must sit a meter apart starting Thursday, Hanoi has ordered.
“[Starting] 12 a.m. on August 19, food and beverage places must arrange seats at least a meter from each other, partitions are encouraged. Staff must wear masks and take customers’ temperature,” Hanoi Vice Chairman Ngo Van Quy stated at a meeting on Covid-19 prevention on Monday.
He said beer pubs are crowded places that pose a lot of infection risks.
Quy added that there might be more cases in Hanoi than detected, but the risk of a widespread outbreak was not high. “The city’s Covid-19 prevention measures are still keeping things under control.”
Standing Vice Chairman Nguyen Van Suu has asked local authorities to mobilize more staff to monitor restaurants and beer pubs. He said any business that violates the pandemic control measures faces the punishment of being shut down.
Suu advised Hanoi residents not to go out unless it was really necessary and wear a mask in public.
Deputy director of the Hanoi Center for Disease Control (CDC), Truong Quang Viet, said some people have become complacent and were ignoring disease prevention measures.
Inspections by the CDC have found wearing masks and disinfection measures in offices have not been conducted thoroughly, and some offices have not devised a response plan if an infection was detected in the workplace.
The CDC has proposed Covid-19 testing on the elderly living in nursing homes and patients with many underlying conditions currently being treated in hospitals.
Since July 25, the onset of a new outbreak in Vietnam after 99 days of having no community transmission, the capital has recorded 33 Covid-19 cases.
Of these, 10 are local infections and the remaining 23 are repatriated citizens quarantined upon arrival.
By Le Nga/ Vo Hai @ VNExpress