HANOI, Feb. 1(CNA)- Vietnam has shut schools in 22 provinces ahead of the Lunar New Year "Tet" holiday and ended a ruling Communist Party congress early on Monday (Feb 1) following the detection of a new cluster of coronavirus cases in northern areas last week.

Thanks to targeted mass testing and strict quarantining, Vietnam has kept its tally to a low 1,850 cases and 35 deaths, winning plaudits worldwide for one of the most successful national responses to the pandemic.

"We'll have a difficult and special Tet ahead, but I'm sure we all will overcome this together," said Vu Duc Dam, the country's coronavirus task force chief, according to state media.

The school closures affect more than a third of Vietnam's provinces and cities.

Most of the new cases have been recorded in Hai Duong, where 2,340 factory workers have been isolated after a Vietnamese employee came into contact with a person who tested positive for the more contagious B117 British variant of the disease in Japan in mid-January.