Vietnam Enters 36th Day Free Of Community Transmission With 2 New Recoveries, However Threat Of A New Wave Remains Present

COVID-19 in Vietnam, update on 22nd May

With no new cases of COVID-19 infection and 2 new recoveries reported since our last update yesterday, Vietnam has reduced the number of active COVID-19 cases to 58. There has been a total of 324 reported cases since the virus first affected Vietnam.

However, the government has warned that Vietnam is not clear of the threat of COVID-19 yet and has only succeeded in containing it. At a meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Fighting yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam asserted that we still have a long road to go, and this upcoming phase could be even more difficult than before, as people and some local authorities are starting to let their guards down.

Indeed, public concerns of new infections were raised yesterday when it was reported that a street vendor was let into a quarantine area to sell cigarettes and drinks to a COVID-19 patient.

No new cases and 2 recoveries

The 2 patients discharged yesterday
Image credit: Pháp luật & Xã hội

2 patients, including a relapse case, were discharged from the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi yesterday. They were both associated with former COVID-19 clusters in the city.

The relapse case, recorded as Patient 188, is a 44-year-old woman who was initially hospitalized on 28th March, discharged on 16th April, and then tested positive and hospitalized again 2 days later. She works for a logistics company named Trường Sinh Company, which was a major cluster in Vietnam in late March. Nearly 30 of her colleagues also contracted the virus.

The other, a 60-year-old woman known as Patient 261, is a resident of the Hạ Lôi Hamlet, another COVID-19 hotspot in early April. After an unchecked patient was spotted there, the entire hamlet was locked down for 28 days between 8th April and 4th May. A dozen of its residents were tested positive for COVID-19, and Patient 261 is the last to be discharged.

Threat of new infections in the community prompts responses from the authorities

The quarantine area of the Bạc Liêu General Hospital
Image credit: VNExpress

Yesterday, the Bạc Liêu Province’s Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Fighting reported on a potential threat of new community infections, as a street vendor was spotted selling drinks and cigarettes to a COVID-19 patient at the quarantine area of the Bạc Liêu General Hospital.

According to the report, the incident first happened on 16th May and carried on for several days undiscovered until another patient notified the hospital’s staff on 19th May. The hospital immediately contacted the local police, and the vendor was quickly identified. His family of 3 and one of his neighbors have been quarantined for testing. So far their COVID-19 test results have come back negative.

Understandably, Vietnamese netizens were outraged by the irresponsibility of the people involved and questioned the laxity of the security in the area.

“What kind of quarantine area just lets people walk in like that? Was there no security there?” Facebook user Phúc Quan Cao wrote.

Image credit: Beatvn

“Why would anyone do such a thing?” Netizen Hải Hoàng commented, referring to the vendor’s action.

Image credit: Beatvn

Local authorities are tracking others who have had contact with the vendor. In the meantime, they are considering other preventive measures, including disinfecting and isolating the vendor’s and nearby households, and shutting down the school that his daughter attends for a few days.

Vietnam’s COVID-19 update, 22nd May

With Vietnam having gone for over a month without new COVID-19 community infections, it is easy for us to be lulled into a false sense of security. However, the fight against the pandemic is far from over, and one thoughtless act from a single individual can cost us dearly.  Therefore, it is crucial that we all remain high alert.

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Cover image adapted from: Pháp luật & Xã hội, VNExpress

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Toan Ngo

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