Health declaration required for all Ha Long residents after coronavirus scare

By Minh Cuong   March 8, 2020 | 03:54 pm PT
Health declaration required for all Ha Long residents after coronavirus scare
Medical staff disinfect a boat at Tuan Chau International Port in Ha Long Town of Quang Ninh Province. Photo by Quang Ninh newspaper.
Around 300,000 residents of Ha Long Town, home to Ha Long Bay, need to fill out health declaration forms starting Sunday.

Authorities in the northern province of Quang Ninh, where Ha Long Bay is located, decided on mandatory health declarations for all residents after it was confirmed that dozens of passengers who’d flown in from London on the same flight as Hanoi’s first Covid-19 patient had traveled to Ha Long. Four of the foreigners have tested positive for the new coronavirus.

It has been determined that 52 persons on the flight from London to Hanoi had traveled to Ha Long, 46 of them foreigners.

Of these, 39 foreigners had already left Ha Long before Saturday morning; and among the remaining seven, a married couple were staying onshore at a hotel in town, and five were touring the bay.

The wife staying onshore and three of the five touring the bay tested positive, while the husband and two others tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

The six Vietnamese among the 52 visitors to Ha Long tested negative.

They were all co-passengers on Vietnam Airlines flight VN0054 from London to Hanoi along with Nguyen Hong Nhung, 26, Hanoi’s first Covid-19 patient and the nation’s 17th.

Provincial authorities have disinfected all hotels the tourists stayed in, 19 ships and the neighborhood of the taxi driver who drove the passengers around.

127 people who had directly contacted the group of 52 have been placed in quarantine.

The province also called for anyone who’ve had any contact with the group to report to local authorities.

Quang Ninh authorities have also decided that all students who have just returned back to schools for a week will now stay at home at least until next Sunday.

Between Friday night and Sunday, Vietnam recorded 14 infections after a 22-day hiatus following the detection of the 16th person infected with the novel coronavirus in the country.

The latest round of infections seems to have been triggered by Nhung, who traveled to Britain, France and Italy before contracting the virus and flying back to Hanoi on March 2.

On Saturday, a 27-year-old man returning to Vietnam from South Korea’s Daegu City had became the 18th infection while Nhung’s personal chauffeur and her aunt were the 19th and 20th cases.

On Sunday, a 61-year-old Hanoi man who was on flight VN0054 with Nhung became the 21st Covid-19 infection on the country, and nine foreigners boarding the same flight have made up the rest. Seven of the nine foreigners, aged 58-74, are British. The others are one Irish and one Mexican tourist.

Nhung had left Hanoi for London on February 15, then traveled to Milan in the province of Lombardy, Italy, before returning to London on February 20.

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

On February 25, Nhung traveled from London to Paris and contracted a cough on February 29, but did not get it checked. On March 1, she reportedly felt some body pain and fatigue, but it was unclear if she had a fever. The same day, she boarded flight VN0054 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, she was allowed to drive a family car home to Hanoi’s Ba Dinh District.

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.

There were 201 passengers on the flight with Nhung, including 21 in the business class, Vietnam Airlines General Director Duong Tri Thanh said Saturday. Of the 21, 18 were foreigners.

As of Sunday evening, it was confirmed that all passengers had spread out to ten localities in Vietnam: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Quang Ninh, Quang Binh, Thua Thien Hue, Hai Phong, Quang Nam, Khanh Hoa, Da Nang, and Lao Cai.

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