Masses suspended in Da Nang amid Covid-19 resurgence

Bishop Joseph Dang Duc Ngan celebrates an online Mass at Da Nang Cathedral on July 26. Photo: UCA News
Bishop Joseph Dang Duc Ngan celebrates an online Mass at Da Nang Cathedral on July 26. Photo: UCA News

HANOI (UCAN): The Health Ministry of Vietnam reported that a 57-year-old man from Da Nang, a tourist hot spot, tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) on July 25 after seeking medical help for flu symptoms only a few days earlier. 

State-run Tuoi Tre newspaper reported that the man was in critical condition and that specialists had flown from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to Da Nang to treat him.

His was the first of 15 new locally transmitted cases to have been recorded in 99 days.    

On July 26, Bishop Joseph Dang Duc Ngan of Da Nang, which covers Da Nang and the neighbouring province of Quang Nam, said local Catholics face a high risk of a repeat outbreak of the coronavirus and urged them to work closely with other people to contain the spread of the contagion.

Bishop Ngan suspended public Masses and services starting from the afternoon of July 26 until further notice, however, the bishop will celebrate daily Masses livestreamed via the diocese’s website.

He also cancelled a gathering of catechists at the Shrine of Our Lady of Tra Kieu and a diocesan pilgrimage to the Shrine of Martyr Andrew Phu Yen (1625 to 1644) at Phuoc Kieu Subparish where the martyr was killed for his faith. The two events had been planned for July 26.

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The bishop said that funerals should be conducted at churches with the deceased’s close relatives in. He encouraged people to daily gather to say prayers at home, recite the rosary, attend online Masses, do charity work and pray for the pandemic to end soon.

On July 26, the People’s Committee of Da Nang instructed people to wear facemasks when they go out, not to gather in groups of more than 30 people in public places and maintain social distancing. 

Festivals, religious ceremonies, sports events and non-essential services have been suspended.

Tourism activities have also been put on hold for 14 days.

The BBC reported on July 27 that up to 80,000 domestic tourists in the city were to be flown home and that hospitals across the country had stepped up preventative measures.

Prime minister, Nguyen Xuan Phucm, called for a decisive response but said that he was not yet considering a total lockdown of the city.

Police in Da Nang also arrested 31 Chinese citizens suspected  of illegally entering Vietnam.

The Vietnamese prime minister ordered government officials to severely punish those illegally entering the country along with those who offered them accommodation in Da Nang and Quang Nam.

As of July 27, Vietnam had 431 recorded Covid-19 cases, no deaths and 365 recoveries.

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