07/27/2020, 17.01
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After three months with no infections, Laos and Vietnam report new COVID-19 cases

Two foreigners, a Myanmar sailor in Vietnam and a South Korean technician in Lao, tested positives. Laotian authorities are not worried, but have boosted checks. In Vietnam, after four cases were reported, the authorities have locked down the coastal city of Da Nang and started the mass evacuation of tourists.

Hanoi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – After more than three months with no new cases, top anti-coronavirus countries Vietnam and Laos have recently reported new infections. Two of the seven new cases involve foreigners.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently praised Laos for its “exemplary” handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic, noting that the government took the right steps to stop the outbreak.

However, a 32-year-old South Korean who works at the Nam Ngiep 1 dam project, Bolikhamxay province, tested positive on 23 July.  He was part of a team with four other South Korean experts who were under mandatory 14-day quarantine in the same hotel.

Phouthone Muangpak, Laotian Deputy Health Minister, said that he had tested negative before entering the country. “He tested negative and had a health certification paper. In Vientiane, we checked him again to make sure. It must have been that the virus had not yet matured enough to show up in his snot and saliva. That is why it wasn’t detected,” the minister explained.

After he was placed under quarantine on Sunday, the South Korean technician remained in his hotel room with food and water brought to him by hotel staff. His temperature was taken every morning and evening, as required by the quarantine protocol.

After he tested positive, he was moved to Vientiane’s Friendship Hospital, where he is in an isolated room and is monitored by medical staff.

Although this is first case reported in three months, Laotian authorities are not particularly worried.

Like Laos, neighbouring Vietnam has the pandemic under control. So far it has not reported any death and has not had any case for 99 straight days. The last case reported in the country in fact dates back to April.

However, a Myanmar sailor who arrived from Japan on 23 June was placed under quarantine on 6 July. After he was found to be positive last week, he was moved to the Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi where he is undergoing treatment.

Similarly, after four new local cases were reported in Da Nang, Vietnamese authorities locked down the coastal city and ordered the evacuation of about 80,000 people, mainly Vietnamese on vacation, from the well-known tourist resort.

Evacuation operations are expected to take at least four days. The government has arranged about 100 flights a day from Da Nang to 11 other cities.

A 58-year-old man who has never left the city is thought to be the source of the mini-outbreak. It is believed that he had contacts with neighbours and that he recently attended a wedding.

Vietnam has so far reported just over 400 novel coronavirus cases, 273 of which involving people arriving from abroad.

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