Vietnam stems tourist flow from China’s new coronavirus-stricken areas

By Giang Chinh, Doan Loan, Nguyen Nam   January 29, 2020 | 02:16 am PT
Vietnam stems tourist flow from China’s new coronavirus-stricken areas
Chinese tourists visit Nha Trang, a popular coastal resort town in central Khanh Hoa Province. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Nam.
To prevent a Wuhan virus outbreak, Vietnam will stop receiving tourists from China’s epidemic-hit areas and quarantine returning Chinese workers following Tet.

Stop receiving and sending tourists to and from China

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism on Wednesday proposed suspending the transportation of tourists to areas hit by pneumonia caused by the nCoV virus.

Nguyen Trung Khanh, general director of the administration, said management agencies and businesses across the country need to closely monitor the situation and keep a close eye on the schedules and health conditions of Chinese tourists. Foreign visitors who have entered epidemic areas and then visited Vietnam within 14 days should follow Vietnamese health sector's recommendations.

Travel agencies across the country temporarily stopped organizing delegations to Chinese provinces and cities where outbreaks were occurring and refused to welcome tourists from epidemic-stricken areas to Vietnam. If detecting suspected cases of infection, travel agencies and businesses should immediately coordinate with local medical agencies forquarantine purposes.

New coronavirus fears have prompted Vietnam's top destinations Da Nang, Khanh Hoa and Lao Cai to turn their backs on Chinese tourists.

Vietnam will temporarily stop granting tourist visas to Chinese citizens at epidemic-infected areas, except in urgent cases.  

Quarantine returning Chinese workers

Local authorities in the northern port city of Hai Phong asked businesses to limit the number of Chinese returning to work amid acute pneumonia caused by new coronavirus, originating in Wuhan City in China’s Huabei Province, spreading globally.

Enterprises were given the option to quarantine workers from China in separate areas for 14 days under the supervision of local health officials.

In addition, city leaders warned hotels and restaurants to restrict the number of Chinese tourists and those coming from infected regions in China.

Hai Phong has not reported any cases of coronavirus infection. According tocity police, more than 3,000 temporary Chinese residents working in Hai Phong return home to celebrate Tet, the most important and biggest holiday in China and Vietnam, including 23 from Wuhan. By the end of January 28, the number of Chinese workers had not yet returned.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs requested relevant agencies to gather statistics on the number of Vietnamese workers in China, especially in regions where pneumonia outbreaks were declared.

Local labor departments also need to review and manage the number of Chinese laborers across localities, make available official figures on the number of Chinese workers returning home for Tet celebrations and those returning to Vietnam.

Labor departments will cooperate with the health sector to isolate those Chinese workers coming from epidemic-stricken areas.

Quarantine 18 medical workers 

Last Sunday, a 10-year-old boy from a Chinese delegation traveling from Hanoi to Quang Ninh, home to world famous Ha Long Bay, on Hanoi-Hai Phong Expressway was rushed to a nearby medical center in Gia Loc District of Hai Duong Province, suffering shortness of breath, pale mucous membranes, cyanotic skin but no fever.

Hai Duong Department of Health said the Chinese patient was then transferred to the provincial general hospital for emergency treatment, diagnosed with respiratory failure and pneumonia. In the evening of the same day, the boy was taken to the central tropical hospital for special treatment.

While awaiting test results, 18 medical workers previously in contact with the patient were quarantined for 14 days and remain under observation.  

"Fighting the nCoV-caused disease is like fighting an enemy," Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in a meeting on Tuesday, urging the political system across the 63 provincial-level localities to promptly take actions.

Vietnam faces high risks of being affected by this dangerous and rapidly spreading disease since it is a popular destination of Chinese tourists and shares a long borderline with China, Phuc said.

"The government accepts economic losses to protect the lives and health of people," he stressed.

Passengers go through the health quarantine area at Noi Bai Airport amid the deadly new coronovirus outbreaks. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

Passengers go through the health quarantine area at Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

A quick response team led by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam was set up to cope with the deadly coronavirus outbreaks.

The nCoV virus has spread from mainland China to Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, the U.S., Singapore, Malaysia, France, Canada and Vietnam.

Chinese authorities said as of Wednesday morning 132 people had died of the disease. The number of confirmed cases of individuals infected with the virus reached over 6,000 with 263 patients in critical conditions.

In Vietnam, no local has contracted the nCoV yet.

Li Zichao, 28, one of the two Chinese nationals who were the first confirmed cases of infection by the new coronavirus in Vietnam has recovered on Tuesday morning. However, his father remains positive with new coronavirus, doctors at Cho Ray Hospital in HCMC said Wednesday.

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