The Strategist

New COVID-19 mutation: Vietnam opens new front

07/29/2020 - 10:15

The Vietnamese authorities are taking urgent measures to contain a new outbreak of coronavirus, which has arisen in the popular tourist destination, the third largest seaside city of Da Nang. Considered one of the most successful countries with regards to combating COVID-19, Vietnam found itself at risk after 22 cases of COVID-19 infection were recorded in Da Nang in recent days. Although these numbers look insignificant against the backdrop of the pandemic in other countries, the Vietnamese government, which initially took an extremely tough approach in the fight against coronavirus, is evacuating 80,000 local tourists from Da Nang and has postponed the ASEAN regional security forum until September.

The calm that has remained in Vietnam over the past months in connection with the phenomenal successes achieved in the fight against the pandemic was blown up at the end of last week. On Saturday, a 57-year-old resident of Da Nang, who went to the hospital due to illness, was diagnosed with the coronavirus after tests.

It was the first case of local coronavirus infection in 102 days, and how Da Nang's new "patient zero" was infected remains a mystery. In recent months, the man did not travel outside the city, where the epidemiological situation remained calm, visited medical facilities three times and once attended a wedding. The second alarm bell for the authorities sounded in the same Da Nang the very next day - on Sunday, another resident of the city, aged 61, was hospitalized. Both patients are critically ill and are connected to ventilators.

Meanwhile, the number of new cases of coronavirus infection in Da Nang has reached 22 since last Saturday, according to a message posted on the Vietnamese government's Internet portal on Tuesday. The authorities also note that the outbreak is caused by a new, more dangerous version of COVID-19.

Based on the first observations of the clinical picture of the disease, some epidemiologists came to the conclusion that the "Vietnamese" variant of the virus multiplies faster and behaves more aggressively. Specialists from the Vietnamese Ministry of Health are considering two working versions of the emergence of a new infection cluster: either illegal migrants who arrived in Da Nang became carriers of the virus, or the virus mutated in one of the city's hospitals, which resulted in infections in recent days.

Taking into account new cases of infection since the beginning of the pandemic in the country, the total number of cases of the coronavirus infection was 438, while 369 people have fully recovered and not one has died. The majority of those infected are Vietnamese returning to the country from abroad by export flights. There are also a few foreigners.