COVID-19 scare: 80,000 throng airports for evacuation from Vietnam city
By Charles Joseph
July 27, 2020 - About 100 flights are to be operated daily for a period of four days to evacuate 80,000 tourists and other nationals from Vietnam's city of Danang, after about 14 cases of COVID-19 were reported.
The new cases are the first reported community transmission in Vietnam since April, bringing the Southeast country back on high alert and evacuation of local tourists began.
Vietnam has also reintroduced social distancing measures in Danang.
Nguyen Tien Nam, an English teacher based in Ho Chi Minh City, said he had got on the last flight out of Danang on Sunday night.
“Everyone was just trying to get out of the city on Sunday,” said Nam. “Everyone was telling me that I should get out as soon as possible.”
By imposing strict quarantine measures and carrying out an aggressive testing programme during the pandemic, Vietnam has kept its tally of reported infections to 431, with no deaths.
Vietnam is still closed to foreign tourism, but there had been a surge in domestic travellers looking to take advantage of discounted flights and holiday packages to local resorts.
Those returning from Danang to other parts of the country would have to quarantine at home for 14 days, the health ministry said.
Genome analysis by scientists showed that the strain of the coronavirus found in Danang had not previously been detected in the country, Vietnam’s health minister said, according to state broadcaster VTV.
The strain, which had been found in Bangladesh, Britain and Ireland, appeared to be more contagious than other strains detected in Vietnam, VTV said.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered police to step up a crackdown on illegal immigration.
Authorities have not officially linked the new cases in Danang to illegal immigration.