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Vietnam's Danang to test entire population as outbreak spreads beyond city

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08/01/2020 | 07:18am EDT

HANOI, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Vietnam's coastal city of Danang plans to test its entire population of 1.1 million people for coronavirus infection, the governing authorities said on Saturday, as 40 new cases linked to the tourist hot spot were reported across the country, taking total infections to 586, with three deaths.

Most of the new cases are linked to hospitals in Danang city, where the first locally transmitted infection in more than three months was detected last week.

The Health Ministry said on Saturday that up to 800,000 visitors to Danang have left for other parts of the country since July 1, adding that more than 41,000 people have visited three hospitals in the city since.

Local medical officials in Danang have conducted 8,247 coronavirus tests in the city since July 25, when the latest cluster was first detected. Testing capacity will be increased to 8,000-10,000 per day, the governing authorities said.

Vietnam has detected new coronavirus cases in other cities, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, with links to Danang.

Meanwhile, authorities of the capital city, Hanoi said late on Saturday it had carried out around 49,000 tests since Thursday after the city ordered mass testing for all people who recently returned from the popular coastal city.

Dr. Kidong Park, the World Health Organization's representative in Vietnam, told Reuters the country had been preparing for the possibility of wider community transmission, after the country reported its first case in January.

"The government has always been determined to ensure that its people are protected from COVID-19 by keeping the country’s relatively low number of cases and controlling the transmission within the community," Park said in an emailed statement. (Reporting by Phuong Nguyen and Khanh Vu; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Jason Neely and Mike Harrison)

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