Vietnam Starts Massive Evacuation of Local Tourists Following COVID-19 Outbreak
Vietnam will evacuate more than 80,000 people from the central tourist region of Da Nang on Monday after three local residents tested positive for COVID-19.
The first case of COVID-19 in the beach resort region was detected on Saturday and two other cases were reported after that. An additional 11 cases linked to a hospital in Da Nang were reported on Monday, the government confirmed.
The evacuation will take at least four days, with Vietnamese airlines operating about 100 flights out of Da Nang to 11 other Vietnamese cities every day, according to a government press release. Travelers returning home from Da Nang will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
The government has also reintroduced social distancing measures in Da Nang and starting Tuesday, those living in the residential areas near the region’s hospitals will be required to stay home. Festivals, gatherings, and non-essential businesses like bars, discos, and beauty salons will also be closed from Tuesday, CNN reported.
As a protective measure, Vietnam’s borders are still closed to foreign tourists. But domestic tourism saw a surge this year, with Vietnamese travelers taking advantage of reduced rates on hotels and airfare in their home country.
Travel + Leisure's request for comment to Vietnam's tourism board was not immediately returned.
The first COVID-19 case detected in Da Nang was of a 57-year-old man who had no history of international travel and had been living in Da Nang for the past month. After that case, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc called for an increase in contact tracing and testing across the city.
Genome testing of the cases found that this strain of coronavirus is not one that has been previously detected in Vietnam. It has been detected in Bangladesh, Britain, and Ireland and is more contagious than Vietnam’s previous strains, according to Reuters.
It had been almost 100 days since Vietnam’s last recorded case of COVID-19. According to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University, the country reported only a total of 431 cases and zero deaths.