Marian devotees attend Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang in 2014. This year’s 32nd national Marian Congress has been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo: melavang.info)
A popular coastal tourist destination in central Vietnam has imposed social distancing and quarantine measures after confirming a dozen new infections.
The People’s Committee of Da Nang city on July 27 ordered families to self-quarantine and companies and factories to spray disinfectant.
Residents were asked to stay home and only go out when necessary to buy food and medicine or go to work. They must keep themselves at least two meters away from others and not gather in groups of more than two persons in public places.
All public transport has been suspended, while three hospitals and streets around them have been placed on lockdown.
Social distancing will be enforced for 15 days starting on July 28 in the city of 1.1 million people.
On July 27, the Health Ministry confirmed 11 new Covid-19 cases including four health staff aged 24-70. All were quarantined and treated at Da Nang Hospital. The city has recorded 15 community infections in the past three days after Vietnam had reported no locally transmitted infections for nearly 100 days.
Huynh Duc Tho, the city’s chairman, said some 10,000 people who had close contact with new patients have been placed in quarantine. Health officials have not found the source of the deadly disease in the tourism hotspot.
He warned that more coronavirus cases are likely in the coming days and called on people to keep calm and instantly obey prevention regulations by officials so as to stub out the complicated pandemic.
He said local authorities had arrested 60 Chinese nationals who illegally entered the country and stayed in Da Nang.
On July 27, acting Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said new patients suffering from Covid-19 in Da Nang are likely to have contracted the virus from different sources in the community. Genome analysis showed that they are infected with a new strain of the coronavirus that is common in several countries in the region.
Long said the strain appeared to be more contagious than other strains previously detected, and it's the sixth strain recorded in the country.
The number of people who have contracted the disease in Vietnam now stands at 431 with no deaths.
On July 27, Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Vietnam, decided to indefinitely postpone the 32nd National Marian Congress scheduled for Aug. 12-15 at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Vang in Quang Tri province.
He said the cancellation came after Da Nang city and central provinces saw the resurgence of the coronavirus. Catholics have to share duties to protect public health.
The archbishop of Hue also offered his apology to those who had planned to attend the congress, which is held every three years.
The prelate urged Catholics to pray for the pandemic to end soon and expressed his hope that all Marian devotees will gather to attend the inauguration of a new basilica in the shrine next year.
He said the new basilica, which had been expected to be inaugurated in October, will not be completed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.