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Vietnam reports 40 more COVID-19 cases, total rises to 586

HANOI: Vietnam’s health ministry on Saturday (Aug 1) reported 40 new coronavirus cases, taking total infections in the country to 586, with three deaths.

Most of the new cases are linked to hospitals in Danang city, where the country last week detected its first locally transmitted infections in more than three months.

The ministry said in a separate statement on Saturday that up to 800,000 visitors to Danang have left for other parts of the country since Jul 1, adding that more than 41,000 people have visited three hospitals in the city since.

Vietnam has also detected new coronavirus cases in other cities, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, with links to Danang, a tourism hot spot.

READ: Vietnam says every city, province now at risk of COVID-19 infection

Dr Kidong Park, World Health Organization 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.

“The government has always been determined to ensure that its people are protected from COVID-19 by keeping the country’s relatively low number of cases and controlling the transmission within the community,” Park said. 

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on Wednesday the current wave of infections is different to a second wave Vietnam fought in March, and every province and city in the country was at risk.

The government on Tuesday suspended all flights to and from Danang for 15 days.

Prime Minister Phuc said tourist hubs throughout the country had to step up vigilance, and that Danang must go under “strict lockdown”.

Hanoi on Thursday also banned large gatherings and urged tens of thousands of domestic travellers to report to authorities. It shut bars and nightclubs, extending those closures to street food stalls and karaoke lounges from midnight on Friday.

Late on Friday, Hanoi authorities said restaurants and supermarkets could remain open but must implement social-distancing measures.

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