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Vietnam announces 19 new COVID-19 cases, largest single-day count

Sunday, March 22, 2020, 22:55 GMT+7
Vietnam announces 19 new COVID-19 cases, largest single-day count
An ambulance is parked in an alley in District 8, Ho Chi Minh City, where a COVID-19 patient lives. Photo: Minh Hoa / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health announced 19 cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Sunday, the biggest number in a single day, taking the country’s total to 113 patients.

The majority of the cases are people returning to Vietnam from foreign countries, including Malaysia, the U.S., the UK, and France, all hard hit by the new coronavirus.

Patient No. 100 is a 55-year-old Vietnamese man who resides in District 8, Ho Chi Minh City and has a history of diabetes and rheumatism.

On March 3, he traveled from Malaysia to Vietnam aboard the AirAsia flight AK524 and was advised to self-isolate at home.

However, he attended religious events five times a day at Jamiul Anwar Mosque at 157B/9 Duong Ba Trac, Ward 1, District 8, Ho Chi Minh City from March 4 to 17.

District 8’s medical center took a sample from him on March 18 although he showed no symptoms, as he was found having joined a crowded religious event in Malaysia.

The Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City confirmed him as a COVID-19 patient on Sunday.

He is isolated and treated at the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

Two of the 19 newly confirmed patients are British citizens who came to a bar in Ho Chi Minh City where an infected British pilot also visited.

Four of the patients are isolated and treated at a hospital in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.

Their flight from the UK touched down at Can Tho International Airport in the delta’s namesake city on March 18 and the four were taken to a collective quarantine zone in the province one day later.

Vietnam has recorded 113 COVID-19 patients so far, with 17 having fully recovered and been discharged from the hospital by Friday.

Hanoi has 35 active cases while 24 are being treated in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam treats local patients for free while charging foreigners a fee for their treatment, though their testing and quarantine expenses are waived.

No coronavirus-related death has been reported in the Southeast Asian country to date.

Vietnam has ruled out 7,947 suspects as yet, according to the Ministry of Health.

The country is quarantining 52,790 people having close contact with infected patients and returning from epidemic-hit regions, 30,295 of whom are self-isolating at home.

The ministry said it had tested 17,148 people, with 17,035 returning negative for the virus.

Vietnam has barred entry to all foreign nationals, including people of Vietnamese origin and their relatives who hold visa exemption documents, to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has required all passengers to fill out health declaration forms when traveling on long-haul buses, trains, tourist boats, and domestic flights.

The government has advised people to avoid close contact and mass gatherings, while shuttering bars, pubs, clubs, massage parlors, karaoke lounges, and online game centers in major cities to slow the virus spread.

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Viet Toan / Tuoi Tre News

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