Vietnam has recorded its first Covid-19 fatality, in a devastating blow to a country proud of its zero deaths.
The 70-year-old man was from the central city of Hoi An, state media said on Friday.
No new infections were reported for more than three months before an outbreak was reported at the nearby Da Nang resort earlier this week.
Vietnam, which has a population of about 95 million, has reported only 509 cases since the pandemic began.
Unlike many other countries, Vietnam acted before it even confirmed cases, closing its borders early to almost all travelers except returning citizens. Anyone entering the country must quarantine at government facilities for 14 days and undergo testing.
And for a while, this approach seemed very effective, with no new local broadcasts reported since mid-April.
The country received praise for both its timely efforts to improve the virus and for the care it was able to provide a Scottish pilot who spent two months in a coma after developing Covid-19.
But earlier this week came the hard news that new cases had been discovered in the popular Da Nang resort.
Tens of thousands of tourists from all over the country were in the city at the time, many of whom believed the coronavirus threat had passed.
The government initially closed the city to visitors, before ordering a total local closure on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc warned that every province and city in the country after the explosion in Da Nang.
“We need to act faster and tougher in order to control the explosion,” state media quoted him as saying.
What this means for Vietnam
By Bui Thu, BBC News Vietnamese
At first, major Vietnamese newspapers cited the coronavirus as the main cause of the man’s death. But then, just a moment later, the story was deleted from most of the country’s state media pages.
The story reappeared on their websites after the National Steering Committee for Prevention and Control COVID-19 finally confirmed the news.
Speaking to the BBC’s Vietnam Service, Dr Luong Ngoc Khue, deputy director of the Kovid-19 National Task Force Subcommittee on Treatment, said the person “died of a heart attack, kidney cancer, high blood pressure and other severe while positive for coronavirus “.
Some speculate that the government found it difficult to announce the first death for fear of embarrassment in public.
But as the news was confirmed today, Vietnam is trying to carry out an aggressive prevention strategy to improve the virus, with many quarantine facilities and mobilizing all means and resources to treat every patient.
As of July 25, 93 Da Nang-related cases have been reported, and now the city is again under a blockade. Restrictions are also being rebuilt in many other cities and provinces.