The first community outbreak of COVID-19 in Viet Nam: description and lessons learned
Objective: At the time of this study, the prevention of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) relied solely on
nonpharmaceutical interventions. Implementation of these interventions is not always optimal and, consequently,
several cases were imported into non-epidemic areas and led to large community outbreaks. This report describes the
characteristics of the first community outbreak of COVID-19 in Viet Nam and the intensive preventive measures taken in
Methods: Cases were detected and tested for SARS-CoV-2 by real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction.
Contact tracing and active surveillance were conducted to identify suspected cases and individuals at risk. Clinical
symptoms were recorded using a standardized questionnaire.
Results: In Vinh Phuc province from 20 January to 3 March 2020, there were 11 confirmed cases among 158 suspected
cases and 663 contacts. Nine of the confirmed cases (81.8%) had mild symptoms at the time of detection and two
(18.2%) were asymptomatic; none required admission to an intensive care unit. Five prevention and control measures
were implemented, including quarantining a community of 10 645 individuals for 20 days. The outbreak was successfully
contained as of 13 February 2020.
Discussion: In the absence of specific interventions, the intensive use of combined preventive measures can mitigate the
spread of COVID-19. The lessons learned may be useful for other communities.
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