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Vietnam warns citizens against visiting Wuhan given new coronavirus outbreak

Friday, January 24, 2020, 14:51 GMT+7
Vietnam warns citizens against visiting Wuhan given new coronavirus outbreak
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam chairs a meeting with health officials in Hanoi on January 24, 2020 to discuss measures to fight the new coronavirus. Photo: Thuy Anh / Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese citizens are strongly advised not to travel to Wuhan and other cities in Hubei, located in central China, where some public transport has been suspended because of the spread of the deadly new coronavirus, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said at a meeting with Vietnam’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization office in the Southeast Asian country on Friday.

The meeting was convened in Hanoi as Vietnam has confirmed two cases testing positive for the coronavirus that can cause fatal pneumonia and quarantined four others for further tests.

Deputy Prime Minister Dam said that Vietnamese people should not visit Wuhan, Huanggang Shi, and eight other cities in the central Chinese province of Hubei to avoid catching the deadly virus.

“Stay alert to prevent the spread of the disease and provide sufficient and accurate information so the people can feel safe to welcome the new lunar year,” the deputy prime minister, who is in charge of the health ministry, said at the meeting, referring to the Lunar New Year festival starting on Saturday.

“There are a few patients waiting for tests and two confirmed cases of the new coronavirus infection.

“We will announce the results of the tests on the suspected patients on a transparent basis.”

Wuhan is the epicenter of the virus outbreak that has claimed 25 lives and infected almost 600 patients in China, together with dozens combined in Vietnam, Thailand, the U.S., Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan.

Some public transport has been suspended in Wuhan, Chibi, Xiantao, Zhijiang, Qianjiang, Xianning, Huangshi, Enshi,  Zhijiang, and Huanggang over the outbreak, Reuters reported.

The healthcare sector must follow rules to fight the virus and protect doctors and medical workers from transmission, Dam underlined.

Vietnam and China share a long borderline so the former is preparing for an infection scenario, he said.

“Many countries have yet to demand health declaration from arriving visitors but Japan has done so to arrivals from Wuhan,” Deputy Prime Minister Dam said.

“Vietnam has begun asking for health declaration from inbound visitors at all border gates, especially those from Wuhan and Huanggang Shi, China.”

Vietnam has ceased flights to and from Wuhan and Huanggang Shi since Thursday and will expand the list of ceased flights if China locks down more locales, Dam said.

Two Chinese citizens have been confirmed to catch the coronavirus and are being treated at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, according to central health officials.

Four other suspected cases have been quarantined for further tests at hospitals in northern Vietnam.

There is no known cure for the virus nor any vaccine against it.  

Symptoms include fever, difficulty in breathing and cough, similar to many other respiratory illnesses, and can cause pneumonia.

The disease can spread from humans to humans via close contact or saliva.

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