South Korea sends emergency response teams to assist citizens in Vietnam

By Anh Ngoc, Viet Anh    March 5, 2020 | 06:25 am PT
South Korea sends emergency response teams to assist citizens in Vietnam
South Korean visitors are at a quarantine zone in Da Nang, February 24, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong.
South Korea sent three emergency response teams to Vietnam Thursday to provide consular support to around 300 citizens quarantined over the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Korean citizens are quarantined in Vietnam at military schools, healthcare facilities or hotels, the South Korea's Foreign Affairs Ministry said. 142 of them are in Hanoi, 112 in Ho Chi Minh City and 22 in Da Nang, according to official data from the foreign ministry.

Each South Korean team consists of four members, mostly from the foreign ministry and the National Police Agency. The teams will be dispatched to the South Korean Embassy in Hanoi and the offices of the Consulate General in HCMC and Da Nang.

The teams plan to stay in Vietnam for a week starting Thursday, but they could decide to extend their stay if needed, the ministry said.

Before arriving, they have been certified as being free of the novel coronavirus by South Korean authorities.

They will discuss with Vietnamese authorities the possibility of lifting the quarantine, while helping citizens who want to return home and those facing visa and other consular problems.

Vietnam's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said at a press conference Thursday that Vietnam would work with South Korea to address the issues.

"Vietnam regularly shares information and is willing to coordinate with South Korea so that South Korea can protect its citizens in accordance with international law and practice," Hang said.

South Korea has so far reported over 5,700 Covid-19 infections, second only to mainland China, where the disease was first detected last December. The South Korean government declared a red alert, its highest level of alarm, over the novel coronavirus outbreak on February 23.

The Vietnamese government has deployed various measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including requiring everyone coming from mainland China, Italy, Iran and South Korea, the worst-hit countries so far, to be put in quarantine for at least 14 days.

All 16 persons confirmed with Covid-19 infections in Vietnam have been discharged from the hospital and the country has detected no new cases since February 13.

Worldwide, the virus has spread to 85 countries and territories, killing 3,287 people, mostly in mainland China, followed by Italy (107), Iran (92) and South Korea (35).

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