The coastal city of Danang in Vietnam is planning to test the entire population of 1.1 million people for the coronavirus or COVID-19, the government authorities mentioned on Saturday as 40 new cases linked to tourist hot spot got reported all over the nation, taking the total number of cases to 586 with three deaths.

The majority of the new cases of the virus are linked to hospitals in the Danang city, where the first locally transmitted case of the virus was detected in more than three months last week.

COVID-19 in Vietnam

Coronavirus
Mobile photo taken on Feb. 14, 2020 shows Gao Yongzhe and Huang Wenli adjusting goggles and masks for each other at "Wuhan Livingroom" in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province. Doctor Gao Yongzhe and nurse Huang Wenli are a couple working at the frontline against the novel coronavirus. Although they both spend all day at "Wuhan Livingroom", a temporary hospital, the busy couple barely had time to meet each other. On Feb. 14, under the arrangement of the hospital, the couple met and had a lunch together. As Huang put it, it was their special and meaningful 23rd Valentine's Day even though there was no flower and gift. (Photo by Gao Xiang/Xinhua/IANS) Xinhua/IANS

The Health Ministry said on Saturday that up to 800,000 visitors to Danang have left for other parts of the country since July 1, adding that more than 41,000 people have visited three hospitals in the city since. Local medical officials in Danang have conducted 8,247 coronavirus tests in the city since July 25, when the latest cluster was first detected. Testing capacity will be increased to 8,000-10,000 per day, the governing authorities said.

Vietnam has detected new coronavirus cases in other cities, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, with links to Danang. Meanwhile, authorities of the capital city, Hanoi said late on Saturday it had carried out around 49,000 tests since Thursday after the city ordered mass testing for all people who recently returned from the popular coastal city.

Dr. Kidong Park, the World Health Organization's representative in Vietnam, told Reuters the country had been preparing for the possibility of wider community transmission, after the country reported its first case in January. "The government has always been determined to ensure that its people are protected from COVID-19 by keeping the country's relatively low number of cases and controlling the transmission within the community," Park said in an emailed statement.

(With agency inputs)