25 people in contact with Hanoi's first coronavirus patient test negative

By Staff reporters   March 7, 2020 | 06:02 am PT
25 people in contact with Hanoi's first coronavirus patient test negative
Health officials in Hanoi spray disinfectants on Chau Long Street near Truc Bach where the 17th Covid-19 patient lives on March 7, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
25 of 33 people who’d come into close contact with Hanoi's first Covid-19 patient and Vietnam's 17th have tested negative for the novel coronavirus. 

The personal chauffeur and an aunt of 26-year-old Nguyen Hong Nhung were confirmed positive for novel coronavirus on Saturday afternoon, while six others have been asked to submit blood samples for Covid-19 testing.    

Nguyen Nhat Cam, director of Hanoi Center for Disease Control, said 25 quick response teams in the city investigated the case and made a list of those at risk of being infected by the patient. At least 200 people had been quarantined as of Saturday morning.

New Covid-19 outbreaks 

Truc Bach Street, where Nhung resides, and Hong Ngoc Hospital are being treated as potential hubs for the novel coronavirus and authorities have deployed various measures to prevent its spread, including blocking the street and closing shops in the area.

At Truc Bach Street, health officials are checking on all people in the area twice a day. If someone develops signs of fever and cough, he/she will be placed in quarantine.

Hong Ngoc Hospital in Ba Dinh District, where the woman was first admitted after she developed a fever, have been asked to suspend operations and patients being treated at this hospital should not be discharged, officials have directed.

More than 500 people at this hospital have been isolated at a separate area in Long Bien District.

Among those quarantined, Ba Dinh District has three persons – two employees of Hong Ngoc Hospital and a crew member of the VN54 flight of Vietnam Airlines that Nhung boarded from London to return home on March 2.

A hotel employee who came into contact with Nhung has been isolated, and some passengers onboard the flight also live in the area.

In Hoang Mai District, a doctor who directly treated Nhung and two medical staff are now quarantined at Campus No.2 of the Hanoi Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases while another employee of Hong Ngoc Hospital has been placed under isolation at Thanh Nhan Hospital.

In Dong Da and Ung Hoa districts, 15 and 26 people have been isolated, respectively, after having come into contact with Nhung.

Five family members of Nhung’s personal chauffeur and a security guard have been quarantined at home.  

Chuong My District has a resident who came into contact twice with the patient. The resident has shown signs of fever and is being tested.

Soc Son District has five people isolated, and their samples have been taken for testing.

Tay Ho District has 29 people under isolation, with none of those cases showing signs of fever. A co-passenger traveling on the same flight as the patient has been isolated.

Cau Giay District has isolated nine people including a flight attendant. This district is crowded with foreigners; therefore, authorities have strengthened isolation and control.

Long Bien District has 10 people who came into contact with the patient at Hong Ngoc Hospital. They have been isolated. Three others are under quarantine in the locality.

Houses, hospitals, and surrounding areas of the quarantined people have been disinfected and their family members are being closely monitored.

The city’s Health Department said "the situation of the epidemic is very complicated". They expect new infection cases will continue to come up. In addition, people who had close contact with the patient have traveled many places.

City authorities are cooperating with Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport to collect information obout 217 passengers and crew members onboard the flight with the patient.

Mobilizing all forces

Hanoi Party Secretary Vuong Dinh Hue has requested that unnecessary meetings are dispensed with so that people can focus on fighting the epidemic.

He ordered that the city People's Committee allow students to stay home until March 15. Hanoi had earlier said high school students can resume classes on Monday while younger students continue stay away until March 15.

Hue noted that Hanoi has learned from the experience of neighboring Vinh Phuc Province in fighting the Covid 19 epidemic. Vinh Phuc is home to 11 out of 16 patients recorded before the woman in Hanoi.

"The motto is to go to the doors and knock, and take them to the hospital early," he said.

Nguyen Hong Nhung had left Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport on February 15 to visit family members living in London, England. Three days later, she traveled from London to Milan City, in the province of Lombardy, Italy, and returned to London on February 20.

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

On February 25, the woman traveled from London to Paris to visit her sister. She contracted a cough on February 29, but did not get checked up.

On March 1, she reportedly felt body pain and fatigue, but it was unclear if she had a fever. The same day, she boarded flight VN54 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, the patient was allowed to drive a family car home to Truc Bach Street in Ba Dinh District’s Truc Bach Ward.

Later, she developed a mild fever and 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.

Eleven people, including nine foreigners, have been quarantined and sampled in Ho Chi Minh City for traveling on the same flight with Nhung.

Vietnam has recorded four new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours. Sixteen infection cases had been discharged from hospitals earlier.

A 27-year-old man who has been quarantined in northern Ninh Binh Province upon returning to Vietnam from Daegu since Wednesday has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, becoming the 18th infection case, the Health Ministry stated on Saturday afternoon.

Some hours later, Hanoi's authorities announced the chauffeur and aunt of Nhung are the 19th and 20th cases in the country.

The Covid-19 epidemic has spread to 100 countries and territories around the world with global death toll climbing to 3,500.

Starting Saturday, everyone coming to Vietnam have to fill health declarations.

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