80,000 people fleeing Vietnamese city after new virus cases

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

HANOI, Vietnam -- 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.

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.

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.

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.