The South Korean Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday said a citizen recently returning from Vietnam has consistently tested negative for the novel coronavirus after initially testing positive, requesting that Vietnam lift quarantine imposed on 15 South Korean nationals and a company related to the case.
The 15 people in question had been in direct or indirect contact with L.K.N., a South Korean man who was said to have tested positive for the coronavirus last week.
L.K.N. entered Vietnam on January 31 and worked at a South Korean-invested cutlery factory in the southern Vietnamese province of Binh Duong, around 45 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City.
He left for Ho Chi Minh City and boarded a flight from there to come back to South Korea on March 31. He arrived in his home country on April 1.
His first test with nose and throat samples returned positive for the novel coronavirus on April 2.
The 15 South Korean nationals, including seven in close contact and eight having indirect interactions with L.K.N. during his two-month stay in Vietnam, have thus been placed in isolation at different quarantine facilities in Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong since April 4.
Besides the 15 South Korean, 39 other people have also been quarantined for the same reason.
Those in Ho Chi Minh City are quarantined at a field hospital in Cu Chi District and a university campus in District 7, while the others in Binh Duong are isolated at a provincial military school.
Regarding the seven South Korean citizens in close contact with the man, four people who are living in Ho Chi Minh City had tested negative for the virus as of Sunday.
In a diplomatic note sent to the Department of External Relations of Ho Chi Minh City on Monday, the South Korean Consulate General said that two more tests with L.K.N.'s nose, throat, and bronchi samples came back negative on April 3 and 5 so he was in fact virus-free.
With these latest testing results, the South Korean man will soon be discharged from the hospital in his home country, the Consulate General said.
The Consulate General thus requested the Department of External Relations in Ho Chi Minh City to consider ending the quarantine of the 15 related South Korean citizens in Vietnam.
The municipal external relations department forwarded the document to the city’s Center for Disease Control on Monday.
A quarantine order imposed on the Binh Duong plant where L.K.N. worked – which resulted in around 800 company employees being temporarily suspended – is also asked to be lifted.
The South Korean Consulate General said the business interruption has caused a “big loss” for the company in question.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Heath has reported zero new COVID-19 case on Tuesday, with the country’s tally remaining at 245.
The Southeast Asian country has confirmed 245 COVID-19 cases so far, with a total of 122 having been released from hospitals.
No fatality associated with the disease has been recorded in the nation to date.