- Associated Press
Friday, July 31, 2020

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnamese state media on Friday reported the country’s first-ever death of a person with the coronavirus as it struggles with a renewed outbreak after 99 days without any cases.

The Thanh Nien newspaper said a 70-year-old man died after contracting the disease while being treated for a kidney illness at a hospital in Da Nang. More than 90 cases connected to the hospital have been reported in the past week.

The Health Ministry has not confirmed the death. The ministry on Friday began testing thousands of people in the capital and elsewhere as it sought to contain the new outbreak.

Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the country’s Administration of Medical Examination and Treatment, said there are at least six other elderly patients with COVID-19 currently in critical condition. All have other underlying illnesses, he said.

Vietnam had been seen as a global success story in combating the coronavirus with zero deaths and no confirmed cases of local transmission for 99 days. But a week ago an outbreak began at the Da Nang hospital. It has grown to 93 confirmed cases in six parts of the country, including three of the largest cities, and forced authorities to reimpose virus restrictions.

Vietnam reported a record 45 new cases on Friday, all connected to the hospital. Before the latest outbreak it had a total of only 416 cases.

Vietnam reacted quickly to try to contain the spread from Da Nang, a popular destination where thousands of tourists were vacationing on its golden beaches. Other cases this week were confirmed in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other cities and provinces.

Da Nang was put under lockdown on Tuesday and testing and business restrictions increased in other areas. The city on Friday began setting up a makeshift hospital in a sports auditorium and doctors have been mobilized from other cities to help.

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