As the world continues to endure the coronavirus pandemic, many countries who were able to curve the spread and get their case numbers down after the initial wave of infections are now seeing a second wave of cases appear. These countries are not only immediately shutting down again to prevent an even worse rate of infection, but some are going as far as kicking out all outside visitors as well.
Vietnam is currently set to evacuate more than 80,000 individuals from the central tourist region of Da Nang this week. Three local residents recently tested positive for Covid-19, prompting authorities to begin evacuations this past Monday (7/27). The Da Nang region of Vietnam is known for its beach resorts, and once the three cases were reported after an additional 11 cases appeared in a hospital in the region, the government began to take action.
The evacuations are ongoing but expected to be finished by the end of the week. Vietnamese airlines have been operating 100 flights out of Da Nang a day, all destinations are also located in Vietnam, and all travelers are required by authorities to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Social distancing measures and facial covering procedures have been reintroduced in Da Nang and those living in any residential area near a hospital are required to stay home at all times. Things that promote mass gatherings such as festivals, bars, restaurants, discos, and salons all closed down on Tuesday and will remain like that indefinitely.
Vietnam’s borders closed down to foreign tourists at the beginning of the pandemic, and will remain closed. Domestic tourism saw a massive spike once Vietnam began reopening, and since the country as a whole was shut down and able to reduce their case numbers, they assumed reopening within the country would be fine.
Vietnamese travelers began taking advantage of all the reduced hotel and public transportation rates to travel throughout their country. Concerns rose after the first case in Da Nang came from a 57-year-old man who had no history of international travel and had been living in the town for at least one month.
The case was unexpected, especially considering it was an individual who had been remaining diligent with following health and safety measures. This caused massive concerns to rise within the Vietnamese government, leading Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to call on authorities to increase contact tracing and testing among all citizens.
Genome testing of all the positive cases within Vietnam showed that a majority of the new cases were a strain of the coronavirus that had not been detected in Vietnam before this point. This strain has been found in Bangladesh, Britain and Ireland and has been proven to be even more contagious than the previous strains present in Vietnam; hence why the first case appeared in someone who wasn’t breaking any guidelines.
Before this point Vietnam had gone 100 days without any new Covid-19 cases, hence the serious response to these 14 new cases. So far the country has experienced a total of 431 cases and zero deaths overall.