The Outbreak Grows

As Cases Remain Concentrated in the North

Good morning - as I’ve done during previous infection waves, here’s a Monday update on the COVID-19 situation in Vietnam. If you’re reading this through a shared link and would like to subscribe, you can do so below.

On to the news.


Case numbers grow and spread

Before Friday’s infection updates, the Ministry of Health had logged 120 local COVID-19 cases since this new wave began on April 29. That has now grown to 411 cases of community infection: 120 in Hanoi, 85 in Bac Ninh, 52 in Vinh Phuc and 37 in Bac Giang. Those neighboring provinces make up the bulk of cases, though Da Nang has turned into a hotspot of its own with 48 infections.

Overall, cases have been found in 26 provinces and cities, while almost 60,000 people nationwide are in some form of quarantine due to exposure to known cases.

Here in Ho Chi Minh City, the situation is still in good shape, though this week will be different since schools are now closed.

One concerning aspect of this latest outbreak is its spread into medical facilities: at least 10 hospitals in Hanoi (including a public cancer hospital) and elsewhere are currently locked down. Hospital clusters are what made the Da Nang outbreak last fall so dangerous. In fact, all 35 of Vietnam’s COVID-19 deaths came from that.

It’s been hard to keep track of exactly where all these cases came from, though we know that many are linked to foreign experts who tested positive after completing quarantine. A karaoke bar in Vinh Phuc has also been linked to a number of cases.

Nationwide contact tracing is ongoing, and hundreds of direct and indirect contacts have been found for a known patient who went to Da Lat over the Reunification Day holiday - that city was absolutely packed at the time.

Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long has warned of the dangers of this outbreak given the presence of different strains and also multiple initial infection points (the index patient hasn’t been found in some areas).

In vaccine news, 851,513 Oxford/AstraZeneca doses have been injected, meaning the health ministry has used almost all of the 917,600 doses it has received thus far. There is no word on when more deliveries may arrive. Last Friday, Vietnam reported its first death related to the vaccine, a 35 year-old medical worker in An Giang Province. She died of anaphylaxis.

Next door in Laos, that country’s first reported COVID-19 death was a 52 year-old Vietnamese woman.

Back on Friday with the weekly wrap

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Mike Tatarski