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Health ministry scraps COVID-19 sampling at Hanoi airport over long waits

Thursday, March 19, 2020, 19:32 GMT+7
Health ministry scraps COVID-19 sampling at Hanoi airport over long waits
Passengers arriving from areas hit by the COVID-19 epidemic are sampled at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has decided to stop on-site sampling for arrivals from areas hit by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi after the procedure resulted in long waiting time and posed a risk of infection.

The short-lived procedure, which began on March 15, required passengers arriving from COVID-19-hit areas to make health declaration and be tested for the novel coronavirus right at the airport, before being taken to quarantine camps for mandatory 14-day isolation.

Due to an increase in the number of arrivals in the past days, many additional medical staff and police and customs officers have been mobilized to make sure the procedure was carried out properly.

People fill out health declaration forms upon their arrival at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

People fill out health declaration forms upon their arrival at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Between March 15 and 18, passengers arriving at the Noi Bai airport reportedly had to wait for long hours at the airdrome for their samples to be taken, which caused inconvenience and posed a high risk of infection.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long has therefore decided to stop the on-site sample taking procedure from March 19.

Accordingly, all people from COVID-19-hit areas will be transported to isolation camps upon their arrival at Noi Bai and will be tested at the quarantine facilities.

A health worker hands out health declaration forms to passengers arriving at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A health worker hands out health declaration forms to passengers arriving at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

The novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has infected over 219,300 people and killed more than 8,900 globally as of Thursday morning, according to Ministry of Health statistics.

Vietnam’s COVID-19 tally has soared to 76, with 16 having fully recovered and been discharged from the hospital by February 16.

No death has been reported in the country so far.

Vietnam has suspended its visa issuance to all foreigners for 30 days starting Wednesday, March 18, to curb the spread of the virus.

Passengers have their body temperature monitored at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Passengers have their body temperature monitored at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Passengers wait for their turn to make health declaration at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre Tre

Passengers wait for their turn to make health declaration at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre Tre

A health worker wears protective suit and gears while performing duty at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A health worker wears protective clothing while on duty at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Health workers wears protective suit and gears while performing duty at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Health workers wears protective clothing while on duty at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A medical worker prepares sample tubes for sampling arrivals at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A medical worker prepares sample tubes for testing arrivals at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Free drinking water is prepared at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre Tre

Free drinking water is prepared at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre Tre

Passengers wait for their turn to make health declaration at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre Tre

Passengers wait for their turn to make health declaration at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre Tre

A security officer calls out passengers’ names over a handheld loudspeaker before having them transported to quarantine camps after arriving at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A security officer calls out passengers’ names over a megaphone before having them transported to quarantine camps after their arriving at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 18, 2020. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

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