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Around 80,000 people flee Vietnamese city after new coronavirus cases emerge

People wearing face masks at Da Nang international airport in Da Nang, Vietnam, on July 27 2020.
People wearing face masks at Da Nang international airport in Da Nang, Vietnam, on July 27 2020. EPA/STRINGER VIETNAM OUT

About 80,000 people, mostly local tourists, are being evacuated from the popular Vietnamese beach city of Da Nang after more than a dozen people there were confirmed to have COVID-19, the government said Monday.

Vietnam, widely seen as a success in dealing with the coronavirus, reimposed a social distancing order in Da Nang following the confirmation of the cases, the first known to be locally transmitted in the country in over three months.

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A 57- year-old man was confirmed to be infected by the coronavirus on Saturday, the country’s first local case since April. Three more cases were confirmed over the weekend, followed by 11 more on Monday, the Ministry of Health said.

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Read more: Vietnam, once free of coronavirus, reports first case in 3 months

On Sunday, the government reimposed a social distancing order on the city.

The new outbreak sparked fear among tourists in the city, with many cutting their trips short.

In an email to Global News Tuesday afternoon, Global Affairs Canada confirmed there are currently 2,921 Canadians registered abroad in Vietnam.

However, the agency said this is not a complete picture of Canadians outside the country, or an indication of the number of those who wish to stay in or leave Vietnam.

“To date, no Canadian citizens or permanent residents have contacted the Emergency Watch and Response Centre for consular assistance,” the email reads.

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The Travel Lady: river cruise through Cambodia and Vietnam

According to Global Affairs Canada, the government’s consular efforts in Vietnam are currently directed towards “assisting Canadian citizens stranded in Vietnam and Canadian permanent resident travellers who are immediate family members of Canadian citizens and are accompanying these Canadian citizens on their flights.”

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The Civil Aviation Administration said the country’s four airlines have added extra flights and larger planes to transport the people, mostly domestic tourists, out of the city.

“It will probably take four days to evacuate the 80,000 passengers,” CAA director Dinh Viet Thang said in a statement. Those leaving Da Nang have been told to self-quarantine and report their health condition to local health agencies, the Ministry of Health said.

It said the 11 cases confirmed Monday were all patients and health workers at Da Nang Hospital, where the initial case is being treated.

The hospital has been isolated and authorities are tracing the contacts of those infected for testing and compulsory quarantines.

The ministry also said the virus is a new strain that has not previously been found in Vietnam. The mutated strain has a faster speed of infection, but its harmfulness compared to the previous strain is not yet known, it said.

-With files from Global News.