At least 26 people in Hanoi are said to have had close interaction with Vietnam’s 17th new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient, who was only confirmed on Friday night, in addition to 197 passengers and flight crew that boarded a flight with her, according to the Department of Health in the Vietnamese capital city.
The female patient, 26-year-old N.H.N., recently returned to Hanoi from a trip across three European countries, including Italy, from February 15 to March 1.
N. had reportedly developed symptoms of COVID-19 infection since February 29, but was only taken to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi at 6:00 pm on Thursday, where she later tested positive for the virus.
She previously put herself under voluntary home quarantine and only sought treatment from a private hospital.
Between N.'s arrival in Vietnam and her isolation, she interacted with many people, including her father, an uncle, five housekeepers, and a private driver for her family.
At Hong Ngoc Hospital – the private infirmary where went for a health checkup, 18 people came into close contact with her.
All these 26 people are currently in normal health conditions with no fever or coughing, according to the Hanoi health department.
They have been placed under quarantine for monitoring and sampled at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi.
|Authorities fence off Truc Bach Street in Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, after a Vietnamese woman living on the street was confirmed with the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection on March 6, 2020. Photo: Ha Thanh / Tuoi Tre
Those who have closely interacted with these 26 people have also been isolated at home as requested by Hanoi authorities.
Hanoi chairman Nguyen Duc Chung has pledged to soon publicize the identity of all of them.
Apart from such cases, 197 people including passengers and crew members traveled with N. on the Vietnam Airlines flight VN0054 from London to Hanoi on March 1-2.
Authorities are in the process of verifying their names and whereabouts.
On the flight, N. occupied seat 5K in the business class. Those who were seated near N. on the same plane or had close interaction with her on the flight will be quarantined.
The People’s Committee of Hanoi has locked down a part of Truc Bach Street, from No.125 to No.139, in Ba Dinh District where N,'s residence is located.
City authorities have also disinfected the patient’s residence and the area surrounding it, Hong Ngoc Hospital, and the houses of people who have been in close contact with her.
|A woman drives her children out of Truc Bach Street in Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, after the area was fenced off as a Vietnamese woman living on the street was confirmed with the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection on March 6, 2020. Photo: Ha Thanh / Tuoi Tre
The authorities said they will also quickly inform their counterparts in the UK and France on the case and coordinate with them to determine the patient's travel history while she was visiting Europe.
COVID-19, which first surfaced in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 101,900 people and killed 3,488 globally as of Saturday morning, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Health.
Vietnam has so far confirmed 17 infections, including the latest case in Hanoi. Fourteen of them are Vietnamese, while the other three patients include two Chinese nationals and one Vietnamese American.
Sixteen of the patients have recovered and been discharged from the hospital. N. was the first confirmed infection in Vietnam since February 13.