|Transfering people to a quarantine facility in Da Nang
Experts made the comments at an August 4 meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam to review nationwide COVID-19 developments.
Prof. Dr. Dang Duc Anh, director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE), outlined how there is evidence that the current outbreak in Da Nang started in early July.
The NIHE has conducted antibody tests on 5,000 out of a total of 7,000 samples collected in isolation areas and within the community, and found the outbreak in Da Nang started in early but not late July, said Anh.
The first fresh coronavirus case was confirmed in Da Nang city on July 25, raising public concerns about the start of the second wave of the coronavirus in Vietnam.
Meanwhile, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Dac Phu, a senior advisor to the Ministry of Health, declared that no evidence exists to indicate that the epidemic is spreading rapidly among the community.
He quoted results of various tests and epidemiological investigations which show that only six locally transmitted infections have been confirmed at present, and no additional people have become infected as a result of these patients. Extensive tests carried out in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, large metropolises that host large numbers of people recently returning from Da Nang, have shown initial similar results.
This indicates that all confirmed cases can be closely linked to an outbreak which took place across three hospitals in Da Nang, Prof. Dr. Phu concluded.
Currently, the latest outbreak has spread to nine cities and provinces across the country since the first case was detected on July 25. Da Nang, the epicentre of the fresh outbreak, has registered a total of 158 cases, the majority of which are in three of the city’s hospitals which have subsequently been locked down to undergo clean-ups and disinfection.
Da Nang Hospital, one of the city’s leading medical centres where the outbreak originated from, is now clear of infection and is poised to receive patients for medical check-ups.
According to Acting Minister of Health Prof. & Dr. Nguyen Thanh Long, in-depth genetic analysis of the virus proves that there is a new source of infection, while the virus has also mutated, resulting in a cluster of infections to occur within the community. He added that efforts should be ramped up in Quang Nam where 46 COVID-19 patients have been identified.
The Ministry of Health will dispatch additional personnel to Quang Nam as it had previously done in Da Nang in order to accelerate contact tracing, quarantine procedures, and testing, the Acting Minister stated.
Though the outbreak is gradually being brought under control, experts have not ruled out the possibility of further infections and fatalities over the coming days.
Vietnam has so far confirmed 672 cases, including 378 patients who havesince gone on to make a full recovery, and eight fatalities.