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Vietnam’s capital was on the verge of mass testing as the nation’s virus case climbed

By Khanh Vu and Phuong Nguyen

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam reported 28 new COVID-19 infections and two fatalities on Tuesday, bringing the total to 670, with eight dead, as the capital Hanoi said it lacked the rapid test rates it needed to continue mass search for cases. in the middle of a new outbreak.

Targeted tests and strict quarantine training had helped Vietnam contain previous outbreaks, but it is now battling new infections after more than three months without any domestic transmission.

The new outbreak has infected more than 220 people since July 25, the majority in Danang, but it has spread to at least eight other cities and provinces, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, where entertainment venues are closed and gatherings restricted to prevent infections.

Danang and Buon Ma Thuot in the coffee-growing central highlands are on lockdowns. A government spokesman on Monday said there was no plan for a nationwide lockdown.

The Vietnamese government said on Tuesday that the Danang eruption appears to have begun in early July.

Most of Tuesday̵

7;s new cases are linked to Danang, the Ministry of Health said, adding that more than 133,000 people were quarantined, about 80% of them in their homes.

More than 88,000 people have returned to Hanoi from Danang since July 8, but only 70,689 were tested, authorities said, with two positive cases.

The gap is due to a lack of rapid test rates used to screen thousands of residents at a time, according to state media.

Hanoi’s medical institutions and hospitals have been commissioned to increase test capacity.

Quick tests can diagnose a blood test in minutes but are prone to inaccuracies. They are used to identify potentially positive cases that are confirmed by the more accurate polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

Phan Quoc Viet, chairman of PCR test package maker Viet A Corp, said he was not worried about shares.

“Vietnam lacks COVID-19 test kits,” Viet told Reuters. “We have enough for two million PCR tests and are willing to provide enough kits for the country to be able to implement a comprehensive test program.”

(Reporting by Khanh Vu and Phuong Nguyen; Writing by James Pearson; Editing by Martin Petty and Gareth Jones)

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