Vietnam alarmed by new COVID-19 patients from overseas

The government and municipal administrations are struggling to prevent coronavirus infections from outside Vietnam, as the number of foreign-origin cases has been rising sharply in recent days.
March 24, 2020 | 08:10
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A 24-year-old female patient, from Can Loc District in Ha Tinh province, returned from Thailand and a 17-year-old female patient, residing in Binh Dai district, Ben Tre province on March 23 became the 122nd and 123rd COVID-19 cases in Vietnam.

Case 122 is a pub worker in Bangkok. She took flight TG947 from Suvarnabhumi International Airport to Danang International Airport on March 20.

The patient is in stable health condition and being put into quarantine at a centralized facility in the National Defence Education Centre, Military Region 5.

Meanwhile, case 123 has lived in Sarawar, Malaysia for 3-4 months.

On March 17, the patient boarded Royal Brunei Airline fight BI381 and arrived at Tan Son Nhat airport at noon on the same day. The patient came to Ben Tre and self-isolated at home.

As of March 23 night, the number of COVID-19 patients in Vietnam had reached 122, 17 of whom have recovered. Particularly, the 18th patient has been released from hospital and undergoing monitoring for 14 days in Thai Binh General Hospital. The remains are treating at hospitals across the nation.

In the early stages of the virus outbreak, Vietnam had previously reported only 16 cases despite bordering China - the epicentre of the global outbreak - but a cluster of infections was discovered in early March among 201 passengers on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Britain. Since then, the number of infections from overseas has increased.

In a bid to prevent an influx of COVID-19 cases from other countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called on Vietnamese citizens abroad to refrain from travels between countries and to Vietnam in current time, amid the complicated developments of COVID-19.

They were required to follow guidance and update regulations in the host countries and airlines, ensure enough documentation to take flights, especially medical certificates if needed.

Chairing the meeting between the Government’s permanent members and the national steering committee for the COVID-19 fight on March 23, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc assigned the Ministry of Transport to take effective measures, even banning flights to Vietnam if necessary, while closely controlling domestic flights as well as rail and road transport to prevent virus spread.

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Hannah Nguyen
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