Phu Quoc forbids foreigners after Latvian tests Covid-19 positive

By Cuu Long   March 16, 2020 | 01:43 am PT
Phu Quoc forbids foreigners after Latvian tests Covid-19 positive
Foreign tourists visit Duong Dong night market on Phu Quoc Island in Kien Giang Province, June 2019. Photo by Shutterstock/Jimmy Tran.
Vietnam's largest island Phu Quoc temporarily suspended receiving foreigners, closing all bars and restaurants after a Latvian tested positive for Covid-19 Sunday.

Mai Van Huynh, chairman of Phu Quoc District, said Duong Dong night market, a major Phu Quoc attraction, suspended operation while all bars, restaurants, karaoke parlors and massage services were shut to contain the spreading epidemic. Authorities further called on local inhabitants to stay calm.

Phu Quoc has arranged a 100-bed isolation area at an army barracks in Duong To Commune and is planning a 1,000-bed field hospital in Cua Can Commune, Huynh said, adding all foreign tourists were barred from visiting the island until further notice.

According to the island’s medical center, overseen by Kien Giang Province, 210 people had contact with the Latvian man, 33, confirmed the country’s 54th Covid-19 patient.

Doctor Le Cong Linh, director of Phu Quoc Health Center, said 166 passengers on flights from HCMC to Phu Quoc and vice versa had come in contact with the patient.

In addition, the Latvian tourist also communicated with 32 staff at a hotel where he and his wife stayed during their five-day holiday in Phu Quoc, having contacting with 12 airport employees and border gate officers.

"At present, local authorities have searched for and isolated over 70 people, currently in stable condition," Linh said.

Authorities are continuing to look for the remaining contacts. The hotel where the patient stayed has been shut and disinfected.

Phu Quoc medical center is quarantining 40 other people, including 17 foreign tourists.

The Latvian and his wife had arrived in HCMC on March 8 from Spain on Turkish Airways flight TK162.

The couple traveled to Phu Quoc, and stayed until March 13. They returned to HCMC and stayed at a hotel on District 1’s Bui Vien Street and another in District 4.

On March 14, the husband developed a fever and visited the city's Hospital of Tropical Diseases, where he was quarantined and received treatment.

Vietnam has confirmed 57 Covid-19 infections so far, with 16 already discharged from hospital. Among the 41 active cases, 17 are foreigners.

The Covid-19 outbreak has thus far spread to 158 countries and territories, with the death toll climbing to over 6,500.

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