A commune in the northern Vietnamese province of Vinh Phuc is no longer zoned off after a 20-day lockdown imposed on it to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was lifted at 12:00 am on Wednesday.
The People’s Committee of Binh Xuyen District in Vinh Phuc Province on Tuesday evening announced the decision to bring the operation of 12 disease-control checkpoints around its Son Loi Commune to an end.
Tuesday was the 20th day since Son Loi, a commune of 10,600 people in Binh Xuyen, Vinh Phuc, was sealed off and quarantined to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Vietnam has so far confirmed 16 cases of the viral infection, including 13 Vietnamese, one Vietnamese American, and two Chinese.
Eleven of them hail from Vinh Phuc. Six of the province’s patients are Son Loi residents.
The patients in Vinh Phuc allegedly contracted the virus from a group of eight local workers who had recently returned to Vietnam after attending a vocational training seminar in the central Chinese city of Wuhan -- ground zero for the COVID-19 outbreak.
Vinh Phuc, particularly Son Loi, has thus been labeled the epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic in Vietnam.
|Authorities remove barriers previously deployed around Son Loi Commune, Binh Xuyen District in Vinh Phuc Province, Vietnam at 12:00 am on March 4, 2020. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre|
In a bid to contain the COVID-19 spread, authorities began sealing off the entire commune of Son Loi on February 13, the same day when a 50-year-old man in the commune was confirmed to be infected with the viral disease.
No new infecton has since been recorded in Son Loi and across Vietnam, while the man was discharged from the hospital on February 26.
All of Vietnam’s COVID-19 patients have recovered and been discharged from the hospital, while no new infections have been reported nationwide since February 13.
Activities in Son Loi have returned to normal as of Wednesday, with military, police, and medical personnel no longer manning the commune.
But even after the lockdown has been lifted, the previously-confirmed patients in Son Loi would still be monitored for at least 14 days after their hospital release as officials are on alert for any new infection, local authorities said.
Disease-prevention and quick response teams will also remain in duty in the commune.
|Residents in Son Loi Commune in Vinh Phuc Province, Vietnam react as a COVID-19 lockdown imposed on their community since February 13 is lifted on March 4, 2020. Photo: Vu Tuan / Tuoi Tre|
COVID-19, which first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 92,500 people and killed 3,174 globally as of Wednesday morning, according to the South China Morning Post.
South Korea has confirmed 32 deaths from nearly 5,300 positive cases so far, becoming the biggest cluster of infections outside China.
Meanwhile, Iran and Italy are reporting the highest death rates from COVID-19 as tolls in the two nations have reached 77 out of 2,336 confirmed cases and 52 out of 2,036 infections, respectively, according to the same source.