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Vietnam returned to coronavirus alert after first local infection in 3 months

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HANOI (Reuters)-Vietnam has returned to a new coronavirus alert on Saturday after being discovered by medical personnel in the central city of Da Nang.

File Photo: Donors carry rice bags for distribution to the poor during the coronavirus outbreak on April 16, 2020 in Hanoi, Vietnam. Reuters/Cam/File Photo

Thanks to rigorous quarantine measures and aggressive and extensive testing programs, Southeast Asian countries reported a virus count of 415, a surprisingly low number, and reported no local infection for 100 days.

Vietnam has not reported any deaths from the virus.

However, on Friday, the Ministry of Health said a 57-year-old man from Da Nang, a tourist hotspot, tested positive and prompted the isolation of the 50 people he had contacted.

According to the ministry, 103 people associated with the patient were tested for the virus, but all returned negative results.

The government on Saturday said a new test confirmed the infection in men, bringing the total number of cases in Vietnam to 416.

It wasn’t revealed how the man got the virus, but he said he hadn’t left Danang for nearly a month. He was first diagnosed with pneumonia.

The case happens when Vietnam is trying to reopen international commercial flights, and as domestic tourism surges.

Later on Friday, authorities in Hanoi, the capital, revived the recommendation to wear masks in public places, as Vietnam’s benchmark VN index .VNI fell by 3.22%.

Although Vietnam’s ban on international commercial flights is still in force, foreign experts and skilled workers were able to enter the country if they were subjected to forced centralized quarantine.

Of the nearly 150 cases reported in the last three months, all were imported to quarantined individuals on arrival.

Earlier this week, Vietnam said it would return about 130 Vietnamese people infected with the virus from Equatorial Guinea to their home countries.

In March, Da Nang reported six local cases of coronavirus when the US carrier Theodore Roosevelt, who reported the incident on board, visited the port. There was no confirmation that the six incidents were ship-related.

Report by Khanh Vu and Phuong Nguyen. Edited by James Pearson

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