Da Nang cathedral and hotel turn tourists away amid coronavirus fears

By Nguyen Dong, Viet Tuan   January 28, 2020 | 03:04 pm GMT+7

The Da Nang Cathedral has closed and a four-star hotel in the city is not accepting Chinese guests amid coronavirus fears.

A spokesperson for the cathedral at 159 Tran Phu Street, which draws thousands of foreign tourists (mostly Chinese and Korean) every day, said on Monday afternoon it is temporarily closed to visitors.

Coronavirus fears lead Da Nang Cathedral, one of the popular sites in the central city to many Chinese tourists, to temporarily close on Monday. 

Coronavirus fears lead Da Nang Cathedral, one of the popular sites in the central city, to temporarily close on January 27, 2020. 

An announcement on its website in Vietnamese and English said "the outbreak of the coronavirus" was the reason for the closure. It does not mention when it will reopen.

The spokesperson said he had informed the Department of Tourism and tour guides about the closure.

Parishioners have been told to keep updated on the issue and protect themselves.

On Saturday the four-star Riverside hotel on Tran Hung Dao Street along the Han River posted a notice saying it would not take in guests from China at the moment because China is where the coronavirus disease is spreading. The hotel added that it will make an announcement when it is ready to serve Chinese tourists. 

It has also cancelled and reimbursed a reservation made by a group of Chinese visitors a few months ago.

The city Department of Tourism urged the hotel to take off the notice in order not to tarnish Da Nang’s reputation, but it refused, citing the move aimed to protect its staff and other customers.

Da Nang Hospital on Sunday quarantined 12 people with high fever for coronavirus tests, seven of them Chinese and one Czech. None of the Chinese are from China's Wuhan City, where the virus originated. 

Ngo Kim Yen, director of the municipal Department of Health, on Tuesday morning announced the 12 mentioned-above people were not infected with the nCoV. The city is awaiting test results for another 16 cases, she said.

As of Monday, January 27 there were around 12,000 Chinese nationals traveling or working in Da Nang. Last week 218 people from Wuhan City had left the central city for their hometown.

The pneumonia outbreak, caused by a new strain of the coronavirus family that caused SARS and MERS, first surfaced in Wuhan last December.

In a communication to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Monday Le Trung Chinh, Vice Chairman of Da Nang, said, "In case of necessity, flights, sea routes and traffic to and from the infected regions can be suspended."

Da Nang authorities said monitoring of visitors from infected regions coming by road is much more challenging than by air and water.

Buildings seen by the Han River in Da Nang City, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/Vietnam Stock Images.

Buildings seen by the Han River in Da Nang City, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/Vietnam Stock Images.

In a Monday meeting, PM Phuc had requested all relevant state agencies to "fight the epidemic like fighting the invaders", stay alert to prevent the virus from spreading, and minimize casualties.

Localities have been asked to take measures to effectively prevent nCoV epidemics from being transmitted between tourists on airway, waterway and roads.

The government has established a national steering agency for nCoV prevention and control, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam.

"The government would accept some economic losses to protect people's lives and health," the PM said. He asked tour operators and airlines to "not pick up passengers from the affected areas" at the meeting.

Foreigners entering Vietnam through border gates will be subject to body temperature screening and mandatory health declaration forms. The border guard, security and customs officers are equipped with facial masks. Wildlife animals are strictly prohibited to be transported into Vietnam.

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 Tuesday morning, January 28, 106 people had died of the disease. The number of confirmed cases of individuals infected with the virus reached over 4,500.

In Vietnam, no local has contracted the nCoV yet. A Chinese father and son were the only two confirmed cases of infection in the country.

 
 
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