It can be said now that the latest surge in Covid-19 infections that has spread to six cities and provinces in six days originated in Da Nang, according to a group of scientists, experts and volunteers who have worked together on data analysis, case investigation and epidemiological protocols.
They said this at a Thursday meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, head of the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.
In the coming days, the advisory group will continue tracing cases and analyzing data to draw firm conclusions.
Nguyen The Trung, member of the consulting team to help build e-government who now works as deputy head of the Covid-19 advisory group, said they have seen two noticeable results.
One is that there is no evidence of a Covid-19 outbreak out of Da Nang, and the hotspot is very much like that of Hanoi’s Bach Mai Hospital, one of the Vietnam’s busiest hospitals.
The Hanoi hospital made headlines in April after becoming the nation’s biggest Covid-19 cluster with 46 cases, including patients, their family members and medics, linked to it.
According to the group, it is very important to identify Da Nang as the source of the past week’s infections in the country. Until then, the focus should be on containing the outbreak in Da Nang and tightening controls in other cities and provinces by tracking down everyone that has visited or passed through Da Nang.
If it cannot be concluded that Da Nang is the source, it will require solutions of much bigger scale and for all task forces nationwide to act aggressively, the advisory group said.
As of Saturday morning, the total domestic infections in the country since the virus resurfaced last Saturday was 104, with Da Nang alone accounting for 79.
The country reported the first two Covid-19 deaths on Friday, a 70-year-old man and a 61-year-old man who were receiving treatment for various serious diseases in Da Nang.
Community transmission has spread from Da Nang to five other cities and provinces in six days, with Hanoi reporting two cases, HCMC five, Da Nang’s neighbor Quang Nam Province eight cases, and one each in Quang Ngai and Dak Lak provinces.
Comparing the situation to the Bach Mai hotspot, experts said the situation at the hospitals in Da Nang was more complicated and they expect the number of cases in the central city to go higher.
On Friday alone, 45 people, either patients or their families at three hospitals – the Da Nang Hospital, the Da Nang Hospital for Lung Diseases and the Da Nang Oncology Hospital, as well as medical center in Cam Le District were confirmed Covid-19 positive, making the largest number of domestic infections reported in Vietnam in one day.
Tran Dac Phu, senior advisor at the Public Health Emergency Operations Center under the Health Ministry, said testing results and epidemiological investigations show that the current wave started this month in Da Nang, and that recent tests conducted on those with Covid-19 symptoms but had not visited Da Nang since July 1 have all turned out to be negative.
Commenting on the information provided by experts, deputy PM Dam said that “the social pressure is considerable but we need to have scientific basis and rely on data analysis to make further decisions.”
Vietnam has recorded 546 patients so far, of which 173 are active.
Hanoi has started mass testing for 30,000 people that have returned to the city from Da Nang.
It has completed testing more than 21,000 and all the results have been negative so far. The capital city expects to finish the testing by Saturday.
HCMC has also taking samples of 14,000 out of 22,000 people returning from Da Nang. More than 1,300 samples have tested negative.
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