HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnamese state media reported on Friday the country’s first ever death of a person with the coronavirus as it struggles with a renewed outbreak after 99 days without any cases.
The Thanh Nien newspaper said a 70-year-old man died after contracting the disease while being treated for a kidney illness at a hospital in Da Nang where more than 90 cases have been reported over the past week.
The Health Ministry has not confirmed the death.
Dr. Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the country’s Administration of Medical Examination and Treatment, said there are at least six other elderly patients with COVID-19 currently in critical condition. All have other underlying illnesses, he said.
Vietnam had been seen as a global success story in combating the coronavirus with zero deaths and no cases of local transmission for 99 days. But a week ago an outbreak began at the Da Nang hospital. It has grown to 93 confirmed cases in six parts of the country, including three of the largest cities, and forced authorities to reimpose restrictions.
Vietnam reported a daily high of 45 new cases on Friday, all of them connected to the hospital.
Vietnam reacted quickly to try to contain the spread from Da Nang, a popular destination where thousands of tourists were vacationing on its golden beaches. Other cases this week were confirmed in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other cities and provinces.
Da Nang was put under lockdown on Tuesday and testing and business restrictions increased in other areas. The city on Friday began setting up a makeshift hospital in a sport auditorium and doctors have been mobilized from other cities to help.