Vietnam tracks down all six co-passengers of Japanese coronavirus patient

By Le Nga, Le Phuong, Quoc Thang, Manh Tung   March 4, 2020 | 09:33 pm PT
Vietnam tracks down all six co-passengers of Japanese coronavirus patient
A medical worker disinfects the cabin of a Vietnam Airlines plane. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
Six co-passengers of the Covid-19 positive Japanese who had entered Saigon Tuesday on a flight from Cambodia have been identified.

The six passengers, including a Vietnamese citizen who has been quarantined, were on the VN814 flight operated by national carrier Vietnam Airlines from Siem Reap to Saigon Tuesday night.

Three French citizens have departed for Thailand’s Bangkok, an Australian and a Filipino have returned to their home countries, officials said Thursday.

The family of the quarantined Vietnamese person is being closely monitored at home in District 1, said Nguyen Tri Dung, director of the HCMC Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The French citizens, 65 to 68 years of age, had stayed in a hotel on Pham Ngu Lao Street in District 1 until Wednesday night before leaving for Bangkok. Six hotel employees have been quarantined.

Six crew members of VN841 have also been quarantined.

Saigon authorities are figuring out the itineraries and compiling a list of people who had close contact with the co-passengers of the Japanese patient to determine appropriate quarantine measures.

"HCMC’s disease prevention system has moved quickly to identify and seek out those who have had close contact with these six people," Dung said.

Anyone who has had contact with the six people on flight VN814 are to call the number 08.695.77.133 to be provided necessary disease prevention measures, the HCMC CDC has announced.

Flight VN814 carried 61 passengers who transited at Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat Airport before departing to other countries and territories the same night. Their onward itineraries were as follows: 50 flew to London; seven to Narita, Japan; another to Nagoya, Japan; two to Busan, South Korea; and one to Manila, the Philippines.

The Japanese passenger, who flew to Nagoya and whose identity has not been revealed, took the connecting flight VN340, also operated by Vietnam Airlines. After landing at the Nagoya Airport, he showed symptoms of high fever and was taken to a local hospital. He later tested positive for the virus that causes Covid-19.

The Vietnam Airlines plane used for flight VN340 then returned from Nagoya to Tan Son Nhat as flight VN341 Wednesday afternoon, with 73 passengers and 12 crew members on board. All crew members and 51 passengers entering Vietnam on the VN341 flight were quarantined. The remaining 22 passengers, all Japanese, who were transiting en route to other destinations, were isolated further pending procedures for their connecting flights.

Japan has so far recorded 331 Covid-19 infection cases in the country. 12 of them have died including six on a cruise ship. Vietnam has recorded 16 infections, of whom all have been discharged from hospital.

The global Covid-19 death toll has reached 3,286, mostly in mainland China, followed by Italy (107), Iran (92) and South Korea (35).

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