A 50-year-old man from the northern Vĩnh Phúc Province has been the latest to test positive for the novel coronavirus, becoming the 16th confirmed case in Vietnam since the epidemic outbreak. With his wife and two daughters already treated for the disease, he had been quarantined by the local health centre but showed no symptoms until Tuesday, when his health finally started to deteriorate.
His elder daughter, Nguyễn Thị Dự, is one of eight Vietnamese workers who had attended a training course in China’s Wuhan last November, and so far six of them have been diagnosed with the virus. Dự is believed to have also spread the virus to a cousin and a neighbour – who later passed it on to her three-month-old granddaughter, Vietnam’s 15th infection case.
With 11 of the 16 cases occurring in Vĩnh Phúc Province, just outside of Hanoi, the authorities have locked down Sơn Lôi Commune, a farming region where 8 people have contracted the virus. In effect since yesterday, the lockdown is set to last 20 days – with checkpoints around the commune, officials in protective suits and disinfectant sprayed on vehicles. A special task force has also been sent to the province to zone-off the area and assist with the treatment.
Of the other five coronavirus cases in Vietnam so far, three have been found in Hồ Chi Minh City, where over 2,500 people have been placed under home quarantine as a precaution, having recently arrived from areas with confirmed virus cases. In the meantime, Chinese patient Li Ding, the second person to be diagnosed with the infection, was discharged from a Saigon hospital on Wednesday after 3 weeks of treatment, his health now fully restored.
In China, there has been a huge rise in the number of cases reported since yesterday, with the authorities deciding to change how they are counting them and announcing 13,332 additional cases. This has pushed the total number to over 60,000 worldwide but also raised questions about the actual scale of the epidemic.
The death toll rose overnight by 254, partially due to the revised diagnosis criteria, to a total of 1,370 cases – just hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping claimed the government’s decisive actions were bringing about positive results in the war against the virus. All but two of the deaths have occurred in China.