Vietnam evacuates 80,000 visitors from city after first coronavirus case in 100 days

27 July 2020, 09:16

The Vietnamese government is laying on flights to evacuate Da Nang of visitors
The Vietnamese government is laying on flights to evacuate Da Nang of visitors. Picture: Getty

By Ewan Somerville

Vietnam has ordered 80,000 visitors to evacuate the coastal city of Da Nang after four residents contracted coronavirus. 

The government is laying on flights to relocate the tourists elsewhere in the country, while the city - Vietnam’s fifth biggest - is closed to newcomers for 14 days. 

The East Asian nation has remained largely clear of Covid-19 with strict quarantine and contact tracing regimes, and prompt border closures. 

To date, it has recorded 420 cases, no deaths and had seen no new infections for 100 days. The new cases are in a tourist hotspot.

Da Nang International Airport - usually heaving with tourists - abandoned during the coronavirus crisis
Da Nang International Airport - usually heaving with tourists - abandoned during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Getty

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Monday ordered Da Nang residents to re-implement social distancing and close all non-essential services. 

Non-essential businesses have been ordered to close, gatherings of more than 30 people and football matches are banned. Tourism travel has been suspended for 14 days.

He said the response had to be "decisive" but that he was not yet ordering a total lockdown of the city.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said 'decisive' measures are needed
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said 'decisive' measures are needed. Picture: Getty

The first new case - patient 416 - was a 57-year-old man who sought medical care on 20 July for flu symptoms. According to doctors quoted in local media, he is in a critical condition on a ventilator. 

Contact tracing identified more than 100 people who had interacted with the man, but all returned negative tests. However, over the weekend, three more cases were confirmed, including one 17-year-old from neighbouring Quang Ngai province.

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