After 55 days of zero local COVID-19 transmission and just two weeks before the Lunar New Year, Vietnam’s health ministry confirmed that 82 new cases have been recorded on Thursday.
The number, though significantly lower than other countries’ daily count, is the highest number of COVID-19 cases in a single day in Vietnam. Health authorities found that new 82 patients are related to the two new patients diagnosed earlier.
Vietnam already ordered the two northern provinces of Hai Duong and Quang Ninh to tighten screening and controls of entries and exits.
Contact tracing efforts have also been immediately launched.
“We have to make all efforts to locate the infected areas within 10 days to put down the outbreak,” Vu Duc Dam, head of the national COVID-19 task force said.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc convened a meeting on Thursday morning, on the sidelines of the Communist Party meeting currently held in Hanoi, to discuss the new outbreak.
The new outbreak includes workers at the Vietnam Poyun Electronics Co., Ltd. in Hai Duong and staff at Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh.
The patients came in close contact with a female patient who tested positive for the virus upon arriving in Japan last week.
The airport, which has been receiving repatriation flights with a number of people who tested positive, has now been locked down.
Vietnam’s stringent efforts to contain COVID-19 infections have been widely praised by the international community. On Tuesday, it was also highlighted at the opening of the 13th Party Congress by party chief Nguyen Phu Trong.
With the new outbreak, new measures expected to be implemented across the country may affect the upcoming Tet celebrations. As its biggest annual festivity, Vietnamese welcome the new year with large family gatherings and religious ceremonies.