Vietnamese minister tests Covid-19 negative after flying with infected passenger

By Anh Minh   March 7, 2020 | 05:00 pm PT
Vietnamese minister tests Covid-19 negative after flying with infected passenger
Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Hai.
Planning and Investment Minister Nguyen Chi Dung, on the same flight as Hanoi’s first Covid-19 patient, has tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

He will remain quarantined at home for 14 days.

Dung told VnExpress Saturday that he was in normal health but will quarantine himself at home in accordance with the Health Ministry’s regulation.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment has had its entire headquarters in Hoang Dieu Street, Ba Dinh District disinfected on Saturday.

Earlier, officials from the ministry, including the minister, boarded flight VN54 of Vietnam Airlines from London and sat in the business class with 26-year-old Nguyen Hong Nhung, who tested postive for Covid-19 Friday.

The minister occupied seat 1A while Nhung was in seat 5K, four rows away.

There were 201 passengers on the flight, including 21 in the business class, Vietnam Airlines General Director Duong Tri Thanh said Saturday.

Eighteen of the business-class passengers were foreigners while the remaining three were Vietnamese nationals, including Nhung, the minister and another official who was accompanying him on a business trip, Thanh said.

City authorities are cooperating with Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport to collect information about 217 passengers and crew members on the flight.

Vietnam has recorded four new infections since Nhung became Hanoi’s first Covid-19 patient Friday and the 17th nationwide. Before she tested positive, the country had gone 22 days with no new infection.

Other latest patients are a 27-year-old man returning to Vietnam from South Korea’s Daegu City, the personal chauffeur and an aunt of Nhung.

Hanoi Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung had said earlier that the capital city has the highest risk of experiencing an outbreak as it hosts residents of almost all 90 countries and territories hit by the new coronavirus so far.

"I urge everyone to be aware of the risks of infection and how dangerous the epidemic is. Everyone returning to Vietnam from abroad needs to report themselves to the authorities and follow quarantine protocol as regulated," he said.

The global death toll has reached nearly 3,600 in 102 countries and territories, mostly in mainland China (3,097), followed by Italy (233), Iran (145) and South Korea (50).

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