Vietnam cities to monitor South Korea arrivals for coronavirus

By Vo Hai, Le Phuong   February 23, 2020 | 11:52 pm PT
Vietnam cities to monitor South Korea arrivals for coronavirus
A driver wears protection gears as he drives Vietnamese people returning to Da Nang from South Korea, February 24, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong.
With reports showing the novel coronavirus is spreading fast in South Korea, Vietnam seeks to control travel flow from the country.

Health declaration is now required for anyone coming from South Korea, according to a Health Ministry regulation issued Sunday afternoon. Those with symptoms like high fever, coughing and breathing difficulties will be put under quarantine.

The country's biggest cities have taken preventive measures.

Da Nang quarantined a 25-year-old man on Sunday as he arrived from South Korea with high fever.

HCMC health department plans to check for and quarantine all South Koreans showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, said Director of HCMC Health Department Nguyen Tan Binh.

Dr. Nguyen Tri Dung, director of HCMC Disease Control Center, said Tan Son Nhat Airport has already performed temperature checks on large numbers of South Korean arrivals.

On February 23, the city welcomed back 38 Vietnamese from China, all quarantined though free of infection. HCMC has only reported three coronavirus cases, all cured.

Medical centers across the city are also monitoring 145 cruise passengers and 536 crew members on board Crystal Symphony in Hiep Phuoc Port, with no infections reported thus far.

Hanoi Health Department, in turn, has requested those arriving from Deagu City and Gyeongbuk Province be quarantined and tested for the virus.

"Vietnamese returning from infected areas should be quarantined as usual," said Hoang Duc Hanh, vice director of Hanoi Health Department.

Hanh revealed Hanoi Disease Control Center and the nearby Thai Binh Province are monitoring a student who returned from Deagu City, traveling from Noi Bai Airport by taxi. The driver is currently being quarantined at home in Hanoi, while the student is in Thai Binh General Hospital.

Reports show foreigners from countries affected by the coronavirus reside across Hanoi, often in high-end apartments. For example, 1,200 South Koreans live in Thanh Xuan District.

Chairman of Hanoi People Committee Nguyen Duc Chung requested all arrivals from epidemic affected countries be monitored, reiterating that "Everything must be ready at the highest level, we cannot stay off-guard."

Chung recommended people avoid crowded areas, including the 1,600 karaoke bars across the capital, to stem the spread of the virus.

Nguyen Khac Hien, director of Hanoi Health Department, suggested the Tourism Department keep an eye on malls and golf courses, which draw many foreigners.

Hanoi hasn’t recorded any coronavirus infections, with the 77 suspected cases currently in hospital having all tested negative.

South Korea recorded 161 new coronavirus infections on Monday, bringing the total to 763, of whom seven have died.

Around 200,000 Vietnamese are living, studying and working in South Korea, including 8,285 in Daegu, the center of the epidemic in the country.

The global death toll had reached over 2,620 as of Monday, with infections topping more than 79,566, mainly in China.

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