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Vietnam reports second COVID-19 death, more cases linked to hospital

The Japan Times

HANOI – A second person died of coronavirus complications in Vietnam, officials said Saturday, a day after it recorded its first-ever death as it struggles with a renewed outbreak after 99 days with no local cases. Both men died in a hospital in Danang, a hot spot with more than 100 cases in the past week, more than half of them patients. The Health Ministry said a 61 year-old man died on Friday evening of septic shock and chronic kidney failure. The country's first fatality was a 70-year-old who was being treated for a kidney illness. Danang is Vietnam's most popular beach destination, and thousands of visitors were in the city for summer vacation.


After mass testing, Vietnam says coronavirus outbreak contained

The Japan Times

HANOI – Businessman Phan Quoc Viet was making his usual prayers at a pagoda in Tay Ninh, a province in southern Vietnam, when the government official's call came. It was late January, just after the Lunar New Year. Vietnam had detected its first two cases of the new coronavirus days earlier, and the government was contacting companies with experience of medical testing for urgent help. "The official said Vietnam needed to act quickly," said Viet, whose medical equipment company, Viet A Corp, makes test kits and has been central to Vietnam ramping up its testing program in response to the outbreak. Vietnam, a country of 96 million people which shares a border with China, is signaling that it has succeeded where many wealthier and more developed countries have not by containing the new coronavirus.


China market plunges as new virus hospital opens, Japan looks to isolate liner occupants

The Japan Times

BEIJING – China opened a new hospital built in 10 days, infused cash into tumbling financial markets and further restricted people's movement in sweeping new steps Monday to contain a rapidly spreading virus and its escalating impact. Japanese officials were deciding whether to quarantine more than 3,000 people on a cruise ship that carried a passenger who tested positive for the virus. Chinese health authorities released updated figures of 361 deaths and 17,205 confirmed cases, an increase of 2,829 over a 24-hour period, as other countries continued evacuating citizens from hardest-hit Hubei province and restricted the entry of Chinese or people who recently traveled in the country. The World Health Organization said the number of cases will keep growing because tests are pending on thousands of suspected cases. Chinese President Xi Jinping, presiding over a special meeting of the country's top Communist Party body for the second time since the crisis started, said "we have launched a people's war of prevention of the epidemic."


Mainland China virus cases rise again after earlier decline

The Japan Times

BEIJING – Mainland China has reported another rise in cases of the new virus after a sharp decline the previous day, while the number of deaths grow by 97 to 908, with at least two more outside the country. On Monday, China's health ministry said another 3,062 cases had been reported over the previous 24 hours, raising the Chinese mainland's total to 40,171. Earlier, France closed two schools after five British visitors contracted the virus at a ski resort. Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam reported one new case each. Meanwhile, the mother of a physician who died last week in the hardest-hit city of Wuhan said she wants an explanation from authorities who reprimanded her son for warning about the virus.


'Severe' hospital bed shortage at China virus epicenter: officials

The Japan Times

HANGZHOU, CHINA – Authorities in China warned Wednesday they faced a severe shortage of hospital beds and equipment needed to treat a growing number of patients stricken by the new coronavirus, as cities far from the epicenter tightened their defenses. Central Hubei province reported 3,156 new infections, its biggest single-day jump in the outbreak that has spiraled into a global health emergency with cases reported in over 20 countries. Among those new cases was a newborn, who was diagnosed just 30 hours after being born. Despite authorities building a hospital from scratch and converting public buildings to accommodate thousands of extra patients, there was still a "severe" lack of beds, said Hu Lishan, an official in Wuhan, the quarantined city where the virus first appeared -- and where doctors are now overwhelmed with cases. There was also a shortage of "equipment and materials," he told reporters, adding that officials were looking to convert other hotels and schools in the city into treatment centers.