Man illegally entering Vietnam tests positive for novel coronavirus

By Cuu Long, Phuoc Tuan   December 26, 2020 | 02:03 am PT
Man illegally entering Vietnam tests positive for novel coronavirus
The front gate of the Vinh Long Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases Hospital, where a man who illegally entered Vietnam and tested positive for the novel coronavirus is being quarantined. Photo by VnExpress/Cuu Long.
A man in the Mekong Delta's Vinh Long Province has tested positive for the novel coronavirus after illegally entering Vietnam, passing through several localities including HCMC.

Le Thuc Tri, 32, was quarantined at Vinh Long Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases Hospital on Thursday without exhibiting typical Covid-19 symptoms like fever, coughing or breathing difficulties, the Vinh Long Department of Health said.

But a test conducted by HCMC Pasteur Institute later found he was positive with the novel coronavirus, the department said Saturday.

Seven people who had been in close contact with him: his parents, a police officer and four medical workers, have been quarantined at the Mang Thit District medical center.

Authorities are conducting contact tracing to determine possible further transmissions, said Nguyen Thanh Ngoc, head of People's Committee of the southern Tay Ninh.

Tri traveled from Myanmar to Thailand by truck on Dec. 15 and stayed there until Dec. 22, when he and six others got on another truck bound for Cambodia on Dec. 23. On Dec. 24, Tri was driven to a border gate in Tay Ninh, then to HCMC, then got on a different bus to Vinh Long. Throughout his journey, he had made contact with several other people.

After disembarking at Vinh Long, Tri traveled to his mother's house. His mother however reported him to authorities so he could be quarantined on Dec. 24.

As part of existing Covid-19 prevention measures, anyone who wish to enter Vietnamese border must report doing so to border guards, and must be quarantined immediately upon entry. Throughout his journey, Tri sat on the back of multiple trucks, among other methods, to evade authorities.

Local police and border guards are investigating his entry.

"We have requested units along the border to enhance control, and severely punish any violations," Ngoc said.

The Health Ministry later on Thursday has confirmed Tri to be Vietnam's latest Covid-19 patient, raising the country's infection tally to 1,440.

Of Vietnam's patients, 99 are still active, and there have been 35 deaths. No community transmission has been recorded nationally in nearly a month.

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