A Vietnamese woman without any illness symptoms has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Vietnam’s first case of asymptomatic viral detection.
The Ministry of Health announced on Friday N.T.N., 29, who hails from the northern province of Vinh Phuc, is the 13th confirmed 2019-nCoV patient in the Southeast Asian country.
N. was among an eight-people group that returned to the country on January 17 after having attended a vocational training program in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the viral outbreak.
Six of the eight group members have now been confirmed to catch the novel coronavirus.
N. was sampled by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology on Monday despite exhibiting no symptoms of illness.
Although she remained asymptomatic as of Friday, her test results show she is infected with 2019-nCoV, the health ministry said.
The group’s remaining two members were also sampled on the same day as N., but their results were not yet in as of Friday evening.
The novel coronavirus, which first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has killed 638 people and infected more than 31,500 globally as of Friday evening, according to the South China Morning Post.
It has since spread across mainland China and to 27 other countries and regions, according to a Reuters report.
Vietnam has so far confirmed 13 cases of the virus, including ten Vietnamese, one Vietnamese American, and two Chinese.
Among them, one Chinese and two Vietnamese had fully recovered and been discharged from the hospital as of Thursday. They were all treated for free.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the new coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.
The WHO said in a weekend report that "the main driver of transmission ... is symptomatic cases."
The organization said it is "aware of possible transmission" from asymptomatic individuals in a few instances but noted that this may be rare and not a major player in the spread of the virus.