Coronavirus scare: Many people at risk after contact with infected Vietnamese patients

By Staff reporters   January 30, 2020 | 05:15 pm PT
Authorities are concerned about the implications of three coronavirus-infected Vietnamese patients meeting with a lot of people during the Tet holiday.

Three people who returned from Wuhan to Vietnam a week before Tet, the Lunar New Year Festival, met with many people in northern Vinh Phuc Province, Hanoi and central Thanh Hoa Province before being detected with the new, deadly coronavirus that has already killed 213 people in China, officials say.

The Ministry of Health confirmed Thursday that the three Vietnamese nationals have tested positive for the new pneumonia virus nCoV. One patient is being treated at Thanh Hoa General Hospital and the others at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi.

The three were among eight employed by Japan-based Nihon Plast Company Limited and sent to work in Wuhan City, the epicenter of the epidemic, in Hubei Province two months ago. They returned to Vietnam on a Southern China Airlines flight (CZ8315) on January 17.

When they arrived at Noi Bai International Airport, a 25-year-old woman was picked up and taken to the company headquarters in Thien Ke Commune, Binh Son District, about 18 km from the airport.

On January 23, the woman went to the Giap Bat bus station in Hanoi to catch a bus to her hometown in Thanh Hoa Province's Yen Dinh District at 6 p.m. the same day. Four hours later, she experienced a fever and started coughing. She was taken to the district hospital first and then transferred to Thanh Hoa General Hospital, where she has been quarantined and her condition said to be stable.

A 25-year-old Vietnamese woman, confirmed to be infected with Wuhan coronavirus, is at Thanh Hoa General Hospital. Photo by VnExpress/To Ha.

A 25-year-old Vietnamese woman, confirmed to be infected with Wuhan coronavirus, is at Thanh Hoa General Hospital. Photo by VnExpress/To Ha.

The second patient, a 29-year-old man from Vinh Phuc Province, began experiencing symptoms on January 21. He first went to a private clinic in the province's Tam Duong District and transferred to the Vinh Phuc General Hospital two days later.

His samples were taken and tested at the Central Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology on January 26. As he did not recover at the provincial hospital, he was admitted to the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi the same day where he remains quarantined as of now.

The third patient, a 23-year-old woman, also from Vinh Phuc, met with many family members and relatives after her return from Wuhan. She started showing symptoms on January 25 at her home.

Her father first took her to the Dong Anh Central Tropical Diseases Hospital in Hanoi in a taxi. Blood samples were taken at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi on January 27. She has been quarantined at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases as well.

Two different methods – Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and real time RT – PCR – were used to test biological samples from the three people, and the results were positive for nCoV.

As of Thursday afternoon, Vietnam had recorded five cases of individuals infected with the new coronavirus. Two Chinese nationals were confirmed on January 23 as Vietnam's first cases of nCoV infection.

Li Zichao, 28, one of the two, had recovered by Tuesday morning, But his father remains on a ventilator, doctors at Cho Ray Hospital in HCMC said Wednesday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that an animal appears most likely to be the primary source of the virus. China says the virus could have come from a market in Wuhan where wildlife was traded illegally.

The organization declared the outbreak a global public health emergency on Thursday.   

The virus has spread from mainland China to Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, the U.S., South Korea, France, Germany, Canada, Vietnam, UAE, Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, India and the Philippines.

Chinese authorities said 213 people had died of the disease as of Friday morning. The number of confirmed infections is more than 9,600, mostly in mainland China.

The Vietnamese government has deployed various measures to combat the virus, including halting all flights to coronavirus-hit areassuspending visas for visitors from those regions and quarantining Chinese workers returning to Vietnam after Tet.

As of Friday, Vietnam had recorded 97 suspected cases with signs of fever and cough, all from affected areas. Of these, 32 are in quarantine pending test results.

go to top