Tet Under Threat in Vietnam

With Tet, the Vietnam New Year, just two weeks away, the latest Covid-19 outbreak in Vietnam may have far reaching implications beyond the health of those affected.

On Thursday the Vietnamese authorities announced a further 98 cases of the virus, the highest single day increase in the country throughout the pandemic. Further cases have already been reported today (Friday).

Millions of people travel all over Vietnam during Tet, mainly to visit family who often gather in large groups, but there is also domestic tourism during Tet. Travel restrictions or even a lockdown would be devastating to the travel and tourism industry in Vietnam which has survived through the pandemic through domestic tourism.

The Vietnamese government have already requested Vietnamese nationals not to return to the country for Tet. In Hanoi, authorities have said that if the situation worsened it would cancel all festivals and events for Tet.

So far it looks as if the outbreak has spread into at least five areas; Hai Duong, Quang Ninh, Hanoi, Hai Phong and Bac Ninh.

A number of northern Vietnamese localities have cancelled spring festival events, sports and entertainment activities to reduce congregation of crowds. In Hanoi authorities have requested people to avoid large gatherings and to cancel any year-end parties. All public transportation has been suspended in Quang Ninh and Van Don Airport has stopped all flights.

More details have now been given on the sources of the latest outbreak.

What may turn out to be the largest outbreak originated from a woman from Hai Duong Province who landed in Japan, for work, on 17th January and promptly tested positive for the UK variant of Covid-19. The woman had been working in a factory in Hai Duong and flew from Hanoi via Singapore. It seems for some reason the Vietnamese authorities were not made aware of the positive test for around 10 days.

Once the authorities were notified they began contact tracing and testing and by Thursday a further 85 cases had been confirmed in Hai Duong, the majority workers at the factory.

Worryingly there has been a second outbreak, this time focused on a man who works at Van Don International Airport (Ha Long) in Quang Ninh Province. The airport has seen many repatriation flights and it seems that he is likely to have caught the virus from a passenger. The man reported Covid symptoms and it is unknown at the present time how long may have passed between him picking up the virus and the onset of symptoms meaning the numbers of people who could have caught the virus from him could be significant. At the present time at least 9 other workers at the airport have tested positive.

Photo credit Jack Young on unsplash

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Published by flyingdogtravel

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