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Vietnam records first COVID-19 death since index case in January

Vietnam records first COVID-19 death since index case in January
July 31
13:12 2020
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Vietnam has recorded its first COVID-19 death, six months after it recorded an index case.

The victim is a 70-year-old man from the central city of Hoi An, according to state media.

The Southeast Asian country, which shares border with China where the disease originated from, confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in January.

Vietnam, hailed as having one of the best-organised epidemic control programmes in the world, had initiated preventive measures before any case was reported in the country.

Starting in February, anyone arriving at an airport in a major city had to go through compulsory body temperature screening and fill in a health self-declaration, stating their contact details, travel and health history.

Vietnamese people returning home from abroad were quarantined for 14 days on arrival and tested for COVID-19. The same policy was also applied to foreigners coming into the country.

After the first case was reported, schools were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday at the end of January until mid-May. Intensive contact tracing was also introduced.

By March, the country introduced travel restrictions; suspended the entry of all foreigners from into the country; closed its borders with China, and increased health checks at borders and other vulnerable places.

For more than three months, the country, with a population of about 97 million, did not record any locally transmitted cases until a 57-year-old resident of the central city of Da Nang tested positive for the disease last Saturday.

About 45 new cases were also recorded, bringing the total confirmed cases to 509 while 373 recoveries have been recorded. The latest cases were all linked to hospitals in Da Nang.

Following the development, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc increased containment measures in the city by ordering drastic contact tracing, large-scale testing, strict border control including the suspension of flights to and from the city. Non-essential services were also stopped.

All local authorities and the ministry of public security were asked to review all people who have illegally entered the country and quarantined them in accordance with established regulations.

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