Vietnam's latest Covid-19 patient a relapse case

By Le Phuong   May 4, 2020 | 12:43 am PT
Vietnam's latest Covid-19 patient a relapse case
A medical staff takes samples for Covid-19 testing at a processing zone in Thu Duc District, HCMC, April 20, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
A British oil expert had tested Covid-19 positive in the U.K., then negative after 14 days, before coming to HCMC and testing positive again.

The oil expert, Vietnam’s latest Covid-19 patient, had not been treated in the U.K. after testing positive on April 7. He had isolated himself at home before testing negative 14 days later, an epidemiological investigation has shown, HCMC authorities say.

Doctor Nguyen Tri Dung, Director of HCMC Center for Disease Control, said Monday that British authorities had given "Patient 271" a certificate that he was free of the virus before coming to Vietnam.

The 37-years-old arrived in HCMC on April 28 on a private jet. He was quarantined on arrival on the same day and tested negative. But a test five days later came out positive. The man had flown in with 12 other passengers who are still under quarantine and have tested negative so far.

The flight crew left Vietnam immediately and did not go through immigration process.

"Patient 271" has not developed a fever, cough, or sore throat as of Monday morning. He has been moved to the city's Cu Chi field hospital for treatment.

"The patient was quarantined upon arrival and monitored in accordance with the procedures so there are no transmission factors in the community," Dung said.

Vietnam suspends foreign nationals from entering the country starting March 22. In certain cases, those coming with diplomatic or official passports, or for special economic projects, are given entry, but they need to present a Covid-19 free certificate from a recognized authority in the country of embarkation. All persons are put under 14 days of quarantine upon arrival and tested for the novel coronavirus. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in its scientific brief on April 24: "There is not enough evidence about the effectiveness of antibody-mediated immunity to guarantee the accuracy of an ‘immunity passport’ or ‘risk-free certificate’", adding that using such certificates might increase transmission risks.

On Monday, HCMC authorities said everyone arriving in the city from abroad will be quarantined for 14 days and tested on the first, fifth, 10th and last day of isolation. The Health Ministry regulates that arrivals are tested on the first and last days of the 14-day quarantine period only.

HCMC has recorded 55 cases. It is treating eight active cases and has discharged the rest.

Vietnam, which still has 53 patients under treatment, began day 18 without community transmission Monday morning.

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