Hanoi chairman calls for calm after latest Covid-19 case

By Le Chi, Le Nga, Le An   March 6, 2020 | 09:02 pm PT
Hanoi chairman calls for calm after latest Covid-19 case
Hanoi authorities quarantine the neighborhood where the new Covid-19 patient was found on Friday's night. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Hanoi Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung has asked residents not to panic but to remain alert as the capital records its first novel coronavirus infection.

A 26-year old Vietnamese woman returning from Europe became the 17th case in Vietnam after the nation had gone 22 days with no new infection, authorities confirmed late Friday night.

She has been quarantined and is undergoing treatment at Campus No.2 of the Hanoi Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

"I urge Hanoi people to stay calm and yet remain on high alert," Chung told the media Friday night.

Soon after information about the new infection was released, Hanoi residents rushed to buy food and essential supplies at supermarkets for stocking up at home so as to avoid going out and contacting too many people in the coming days.

Saying that Hanoi has the highest risk of hosting an outbreak as residents of almost all 90 countries and territories hit by the new coronavirus so far are now living and working in the city, Chung said: "I urge everyone to be aware of the risks of infection and how dangerous the epidemic is. Everyone returning to Vietnam from abroad needs to report themselves to the authorities and follow quarantine protocol as regulated.

"The authorities are still tracking down anyone that has been in close contact with this patient so as to quarantine them," he said.

For now, 29 such people have been identified.

The latest Covid-19 patient had left Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport on February 15 to visit family members in London, England. Three days later, she travelled from London to Milan City in the Italian province Lombardy 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 travelled from London to Paris to visit her sister. She contracted a cough on February 29, but did not get her health checked by a doctor.

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 a severe cough, and was admitted to the 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.

Eight of the patient’s family members – her father, uncle, five janitors and a personal chauffeur are also being isolated at the Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases. All are reportedly healthy, with no signs of fever or cough.

Seventeen doctors from Hong Ngoc Hospital who had been in contact with the patient are also being isolated at the hospital, and in good health.

Flight VN54 had carried 201 passengers, and authorities are in the process of verifying their names and whereabouts.

After Vietnam reported its 16th Covid-19 infection on February 13, the nation went 22 days without detecting any new case . All the 16 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals.

As of Friday, 23,228 people were being isolated at home or in communal facilities across the country, an increase of 9,000 compared to the day before, while another 101 infection suspects are being isolated in hospitals.

The Covid-19 outbreak broke out in China’s Wuhan City, Hubei Province in late December last year. By Friday, the disease had infected over 102,200 people worldwide and killed 3,495, mostly Chinese citizens.

Italy had recorded more than 4,600 infections as of Saturday morning with 197 deaths, making it the country with the second highest number of deaths after China.

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