Vietnam is back on high alert after four new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the central city of Danang over the weekend, the first community infections since April this year.
The first new case is a 57 year old man who, according to local media, is currently in critical condition. Via contact tracing, over 100 individuals who have interacted with the man have been tested and all returned negative results. Three more cases were identified over the weekend – a 17 year old male, 61 year old man and 71 year old female – but it has yet to be established whether all of the cases are linked to each other.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has swiftly ordered action to contain and prevent any further spread of the virus by issuing a “stay-at-home” order for the entire city of Danang. This means that residents must go back to the strict measures that were in play in earlier this year, restricting residents to only leave their homes for essentials needs (such as food, medicine and urgent medical care). The “two meter” rule will come back into play, as well as the compulsory wearing of masks outsides and restrictions on public gatherings.
There will also be a temporary suspension of football matches, festivals, religious ceremonies and bars.
The government has also order the evacuation of over 80,000 (mostly domestic) tourists from Danang via national flights. The evacuation will take at least four days. Authorities are also looking into preventing illegal entry into Vietnam, which is seen as a major risk of spreading the virus.
Vietnam’s VN Index plunged by 5.31% after hearing the news, the steepest decline since March 30th. Notable decliners were Vietnam Dairy Products (-6.93%), Vinhomes (-6.71%) and Bank For Foreign Trade Of Vietnam (-4.94%). The Index is down by 18% since the start of the year.
Vietnam has been praised internationally for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. It closed its borders to almost all travelers at the beginning of the pandemic and made it mandatory for anyone entering the country to undergo testing and quarantine in government facilities for 14 days. The strict measures have limited the total number of cases to just over 400 in a country with a population of 97 million people. All those who contracted the virus have since recovered and no deaths have been recorded. The government is hoping that the reintroduction of strict measures will prevent any further spread and keep the numbers low.
A full list of coronavirus stats in Frontier Markets can be found here.