Vietnamese citizen infected with new coronavirus in South Korea

By Nguyen Quy   February 29, 2020 | 03:00 am PT
Vietnamese citizen infected with new coronavirus in South Korea
Medical workers wearing protective gear stand by outside a hospital in Daegu, South Korea, February 26, 2020. Photo by Reuters.
South Korean authorities have confirmed that a Vietnamese citizen living in Daegu City, a Covid-19 epicenter, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The identity of the patient has not been revealed, but the South Korea Center for Disease Control & Prevention has sent the patient's details to Vietnam’s Ministry of Health in accordance with international regulations, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

The Vietnamese embassy has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Korea and relevant Korean agencies to create favorable conditions for the Vietnamese citizen in receiving treatment.

South Korea will offer free treatment for Vietnamese citizens residing in the country if they get infected with the novel coronavirus, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told her Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh on the phone Saturday.

Earlier, the South Korean government had announced that all foreign nationals, including Vietnamese residing illegally in South Korea, will not be prosecuted if they come to public medical centers and hospitals for health checks in case they show signs of coronavirus infection.

South Korea has made international headlines as the worst-hit country by the novel coronavirus after China. It has recorded over 2,900 infections so far, many of them in the southeastern city of Daegu and nearby North Gyeongsang Province. As of Saturday morning, the noval coronavirus had claimed 16 lives in the country.

Last Sunday, the South Korean government declared a red alert, its highest level of alarm, over the epidemic.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam says about 200,000 Vietnamese citizens are studying and working in South Korea, with 8,285 living in Daegu City, and 18,502 in North Gyeongsang Province.

Many of them have been flying home in recent days.

The Vietnamese government has deployed various measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including canceling many flights to South Korea and suspending visa-free entry for South Koreans starting from Saturday.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered Tuesday to suspend entry for everyone coming from outbreak areas in coronavirus-hit countries and territories, including South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy. Those who have to enter Vietnam for state affairs or exclusive matters must follow the nation’s health declaration procedure and stay in quarantine for 14 days.

The Covid-19 epidemic has spread to 60 countries and territories around the world so far, killing 2,924 people, mostly in China.

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