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Vietnam’s Quang Ninh, home to famed Ha Long Bay, closes attractions over COVID-19

Friday, March 13, 2020, 12:11 GMT+7
Vietnam’s Quang Ninh, home to famed Ha Long Bay, closes attractions over COVID-19
A tourist ship operates in Ha Long Bay, located the northern province of Quang Ninh, Vietnam in this undated photo. Photo: Tien Thang / Tuoi Tre

Authorities in Quang Ninh Province, located in northern Vietnam, on Wednesday decided to temporarily close all local tourist sites for two weeks, starting from Thursday, after four foreign tourists in the province were confirmed to be infected with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Accordingly, day tours to popular attractions in Quang Ninh, including the world-renowned Ha Long Bay – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, neighboring Bai Tu Long Bay, and the Yen Tu historical relic and landscape area.

Visitors will be prohibited from using overnight accommodation services in Ha Long Bay during the two-week closure.

Quang Ninh authorities announced the restriction three days after four foreign tourists in the province were confirmed to be infected with the new coronavirus.

All four are currently being treated for the disease.

Over 1,210 people in Quang Ninh are under quarantine in local isolation camps.

The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, had infected over 132,900 people and killed more than 4,900 globally as of Friday morning, according to Ministry of Health statistics.

Vietnam has so far confirmed 44 infections, including 30 Vietnamese, two Chinese nationals, one Vietnamese American, nine British citizens, one Mexican, and one Irish national.

Sixteen of the patients had recovered and been discharged from the hospital by February 26. The 28 active cases in the country are still being treated.  

Patient No. 17, a Hanoi resident, was confirmed on Friday last week, 21 days since Vietnam had reported its last infection.  

The four confirmed patients in Quang Ninh had been on the same March 2 flight to Hanoi from London as patient No. 17.

Like Quang Ninh, the northern city of Hai Phong has also stopped welcoming visitors to its famed tourist attractions, including Cat Ba Island on the southeastern edge of Ha Long Bay.

Local authorities have asked the city’s police force and health sector to coordinate checkpoints for entry and exit to and from Cat Hai District, the locality charged with administering Cat Ba Island.

The city has also asked its residents to postpone organizing weddings and to minimize large gatherings.

Hai Phong has reported no cases of COVID-19 infection.

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