Vietnam Intensifies Border Checks to Stem ‘Very Worrisome’ Outbreak

Vietnam has ordered a strict border control and mandatory quarantines of three weeks while imposing some movement restrictions as it traces the recent flare up in coronavirus cases to overseas travelers.

Vietnam is facing potential clusters from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, prompting the government to issue an array of increasingly tough orders to avoid major outbreaks.

Visitors from abroad and those who have been in close contact with virus patients are required to spend three weeks in official quarantine quarters, according to a Wednesday night posting on the government’s website.

During a virus task force meeting on Tuesday afternoon, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam ordered intensified inspections on arriving travelers, according to a post on a government website. Authorities will also go “district by district, house by house” and visit companies hosting overseas workers to contain any spread.

The government is bracing for a scenario where 30,000 people could be infected, Dam said, adding that the number is meant for preparation and not a forecast. Reports that many places weren’t strictly implementing quarantine rules likely fueled the recent spike in cases, Dam said. All isolation facilities must have working CCTV cameras 24/7. Each locality’s virus task force must inspect these centers several times a day.

“The virus situation currently is very worrisome with multiple risk factors from people entering Vietnam legally, illegally and locals letting the guard down,” Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said in the Tuesday post. Three patients in Vinh Phuc were found to be carrying a virus variant first detected in India, the health ministry had said.

Vietnam, which has among the lowest number of infections in Southeast Asia, has ordered movement restrictions after domestic Covid-19 cases flared up for the first time in a month. The nation is lagging peers in the region on vaccination, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker.

Hanoi on Wednesday locked down the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases 2 after a doctor tested positive for Covid-19, VnExpress reported. The hospital has had a total of 14 new virus cases as of May 5, according to the health ministry.

Hanoi has shut schools, tourism sites and sidewalk eateries. In both the capital and Ho Chi Minh City, cinemas, gyms and spas have been shuttered.

Eight people in Vinh Phuc were suspected of having Covid-19, prompting the isolation of a village with 920 residents.

The country had 3,022 infections and 35 deaths as of May 5, including 56 local cases from April 27 when the first domestic infection in a month was reported, according to the health ministry.

The World Health Organization and its partners have agreed to transfer mRNA technology used by Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc. to make their Covid-19 vaccines to Vietnam, Deputy Health Minister Tran Van Thuan said during a government briefing Wednesday night.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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