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Hanoi's 21st Covid-19 patient might have spread virus to dozens

06:29 | 09/03/2020

The patient, a 61-year-old man on the same flight from London to Hanoi as 26-year-old Nguyen Hong Nhung, the first Covid-19 patient in the capital city, had been in direct contact with over 20 people before quarantined as he attended a gathering at the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences in Ba Dinh District last Wednesday, 

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Residents on Truc Bach Street where Nguyen Hong Nhung, Hanoi's first Covid-19 patient, resides fill in health declarations on March 7, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

On the flight that touched down in Hanoi on Monday, he was sitting five-six meters away from Nhung, "yet he contracted the virus," Hanoi Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung said at meeting Sunday.

The man is Hanoi's fourth infection case and the nation's 21st.

The city’s Health Department has identified at least 26 people who had direct contact with him, and they, in turn, had directly contacted 23 others, Chung said.

"He’s been to many places and got in touch with many people, so the risk of spreading the infection is high," Chung said.

The chairman requested all related agencies to swiftly compile a list of all the people that have met with the patient and take samples for testing.

Before Nhung tested positive on Friday night, all 16 persons confirmed with Covid-19 infections in Vietnam until then had been discharged from hospitals and the nation had recorded no new infection for 22 consecutive days.

In Nhung’s own circle, two people have so far tested positive for the novel coronavirus - her personal chauffeur and an aunt.

Apart from preventive measures by authorities, Chung called for all citizens at risk to report themselves to medical authorities to limit the spread of the infection, especially if they develop any symptoms of Covid 19 such as cough and fever.

Nhung had left Hanoi for London on February 15, then traveled to Milan City, in the province of Lombardy, Italy, before returning to London on February 20.

During her time in Milan, Lombardy had not recorded any Covid-19 positive case.

On February 25, Nhung traveled from London to Paris and contracted a cough on February 29, but did not get it checked. On March 1, she reportedly felt some body pain and fatigue, but it was unclear if she had a fever.

The same day, she boarded flight VN0054 of Vietnam Airlines from London and landed in Hanoi at 4:30 a.m. on March 2. She did not have a fever then.

After completing entry procedures, she was allowed to drive a family car home to Truc Bach Street, Hanoi’s Ba Dinh District.

Later, she developed a mild fever and a severe cough, and was admitted to Hong Ngoc Hospital in Ba Dinh District Thursday. The very same day, she was transferred to the Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases where she tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

As of Sunday afternoon, Vietnam has confirmed 30 Covid-19 infections, with the latest nine being foreign tourists who were on the same flight from London to Hanoi as Nguyen Hong Nhung.

All the nine foreigners have been quarantined.

The global death toll caused by the novel coronavirus has jumped to 3,600 while infections have reached 106,467 in 103 countries and territories.

South Korea, Iran and Italy are now home to the two biggest outbreaks outside China, recording 7,313, 6,566 and 5,883 infections as well as respective death tolls of 50, 194 and 233.

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