August 4, 2020, 09.12 PM

HANOI, – Vietnam’s Covid-19 cases continue to rise, but its capital Hanoi stated that there is a test kit shortage if the country seeks to continue mass screening.

On Tuesday, Vietnam reported 28 new Covid-19 cases and two deaths bringing the national total to 670 confirmed cases and eight casualties.

The Vietnamese government has pushed for mass screenings to contain new coronavirus outbreaks.

Read also: Asian Countries Battling Second Wave of Coronavirus Infections

Targeted testing and strict quarantining had helped Vietnam contain earlier outbreaks, but it is now battling new infections after going more than three months without 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.

Da Nang and Buon Ma Thuot in the coffee-growing Central Highlands are on lockdown. A government spokesman on Monday said there was no plan for a nationwide lockdown.

Read also: Vietnam’s Da Nang Under Lockdown Following Fresh Covid-19 Cases

Most of Tuesday's new cases are linked to Da Nang, the health ministry said, adding there were over 133,000 people in quarantine, about 80 percent of those in their homes.

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

The gap is due to a shortage of rapid testing kits used to screen thousands of residents at a time, according to state media.

Hanoi medical institutions and hospitals have been assigned to boost testing capacity.

Rapid tests can diagnose a blood sample in minutes but are prone to inaccuracies.

They are used to identify potentially positive cases that are confirmed using the more accurate, swab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

Phan Quoc Viet, chairman of PCR test kit manufacturer Viet A Corp, said he was not concerned about stocks.

"Vietnam is not short of 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 conduct a widespread testing program".

(Writer: James Pearson | Editor: Martin Petty)


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