Hanoi’s Covid-19 relapse patient tests negative again

By Thuy Quynh, Le Nga   April 20, 2020 | 03:14 am PT
Hanoi’s Covid-19 relapse patient tests negative again
A medical worker performs Covid-19 tests on a sample in Hanoi, April 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
A patient who tested positive after being discharged from a Hanoi hospital tested Covid-19 negative Monday morning, the Health Ministry has confirmed.

"Patient 188," a 44-year-old woman from the capital city’s Chuong My District, is an employee of the Truong Sinh Company, which provides food and logistic services for several hospitals in Hanoi, including the Bach Mai Hospital, a major Covid-19 hotspot.

Her samples were tested using the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) technique.

Dr. Pham Ngoc Thach, director of the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, where the patient is being quarantined and treated, said she was in stable health. She has no fever, coughs only a little and can breathe with her stable heart rate and blood pressure.  

She is being treated from the beginning under the protocol set by the Health Ministry, like a new infection case. 

The woman was confirmed positive on March 29, treated at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases and discharged on April 16 after testing negative for the novel coronavirus twice.

On Saturday, two days after her discharge, she developed a cough and felt a tightness in her chest. A subsequent test carried out by Hanoi’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) revealed that she was positive again for the Covid-19 virus.

Testing capability suspected 

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son said at a meeting Monday that after testing positive again for novel coronavirus Saturday, "Patient 188" was taken to the hospital and had her samples taken for testing again.

The result came back negative.  

"These are two conflicting results in a very short time on a patient," Son said.

Health experts have surmised that testing capability and other factors were being considered, as quarantine facilities were carrying out a large number of tests each day.

"This case also raises the issue of cross-transmission between swab samples," Son said. This question currently has no answer.

"Patient 188" is Vietnam's second case to test positive for the novel coronavirus after having been discharged from hospital. The other is "Patient 22," a 66-year-old British man who flew from the U.K. to Vietnam on March 2.

He was confirmed Covid-19 positive on March 8 and treated at the Da Nang Hospital in the central city. He was discharged March 23 after testing negative three times. After finishing a post-discharge two-week quarantine at a local hotel, he flew from Da Nang to Saigon for a flight back to the U.K. on April 10. Another sample was taken at the time, and it tested positive for the novel coronavirus on April 11. He had already left Vietnam by then. He has since tested negative again, U.K. authorities have said.

Cases of Covid-19 patients testing positive again after recovery are not uncommon. South Korea has reported more than 160 people relapsing.

Vietnam has recorded no new cases of the novel coronavirus for the last four days.

Of the 268 patients diagnosed in Vietnam so far, 61 are still active and the remaining 207 have been discharged. No deaths have been recorded to date.

The Covid-19 pandemic has spread to 210 countries and territories, with more than 165,000 deaths reported so far.

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