British man on Covid-19 infected flight gives Vietnam the slip

By Huu Cong   March 11, 2020 | 08:52 pm PT
British man on Covid-19 infected flight gives Vietnam the slip
An ambulance arrives at a quarantine area for Covid-19 suspects at District 3 Hospital in HCMC, March 9, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
A British man wanted for quarantining by HCMC authorities after he arrived on a Covid-19 infected flight had left Vietnam Wednesday morning.

Grogan Matthew James Knight, 32, had returned to the U.K. before Saigon authorities issued orders to find and quarantine him, Nguyen Tri Dung, director of the HCMC Center for Disease Control, said Wednesday night.

Previously, HCMC authorities were tracking down passengers who arrived in the country March 2 on Vietnam Airlines flight VN54, carrying the nation’s 17th and Hanoi's first Covid-19 patient – 26-year-old Nguyen Hong Nhung.

Among the 217 passengers and crew members on the flight, at least 13 including Nhung have since tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Authorities said all people on the flight have either been put in quarantine or left Vietnam.

After landing in Hanoi, Knight went to Hoi An in central Vietnam on March 5, then reached HCMC on March 7.

Officials contacted the man, but he refused to provide his exact location in the city.

Authorities are yet to announce what they plan to do next, following Knight's departure.

As of Thursday morning, HCMC had quarantined 394 people in several quarantine zones in the city, and 594 in their own homes.

Vietnam has confirmed 39 Covid-19 cases so far, the latest being a 25-year-old male tour guide in Hanoi who’d came into contact with an infected British passenger on the VN54 flight.

The tour guide had been quarantined in the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Dong Anh District since March 8, and tested positive on Wednesday.

Before Nhung tested positive and triggered a spate of Covid-19 infections, Vietnam had successfully treated and discharged all 16 previously infected patients and gone 22 straight days without recording a new infection.

The highly infectious novel coronavirus has thus far spread to 124 countries and territories around the world, killing more than 4,600 people.

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