19 new cases of COVID-19 infection in Vietnam were announced on Sunday, the largest number for a single day, increasing the country’s overall tally to 113 patients as of last night. Most of the cases reported yesterday are people returning to Vietnam from coronavirus-stricken areas – Malaysia, Europe and the United States of America. Seven of the new patients are quarantined in Hanoi, six in Ho Chi Minh City and another six in the Mekong Delta.
They include Vietnamese nationals studying or working abroad, two British men working as English teachers who went to a party with an infected Vietnam Airlines pilot, and perhaps the most interesting case of them all – “Patient 100”, a 55-year-old from Ho Chi Minh City. In Malaysia, he attended a religious ceremony which resulted in hundreds of COVID-19 infections, and was instructed to self-isolate at home upon his return to Vietnam on 3 March. Instead, the man went to pray at the Jamiul Anwar Mosque five times a day for two weeks, before finally testing positive for the virus.
On Monday morning three more cases were announced, including a 29-year-old doctor from Hanoi – the first doctor to be infected by the novel coronavirus in Vietnam. The other two cases are a 19-year-old Vietnamese student returning from the Netherlands and a 44-year-old Vietnamese woman living in the Czech Republic.
Of all the 116 coronavirus patients in Vietnam so far, 17 have recovered while 99 are currently under treatment in hospitals throughout the country. The Ministry of Health also announced on Sunday night that another 645 people had apparent disease symptoms, the highest number of COVID-19 suspects in the country as of yet. They are all monitored and quarantined, soon to be tested for the virus.
In a desperate move to combat the epidemic, Vietnam suspended entry for all foreign nationals yesterday, including people of Vietnamese origin and their relatives with visa waivers. Decisions will be taken individually for those arriving in Vietnam for diplomatic purposes or as highly-skilled workers, but these people will still be quarantined for 14 days if they do enter the country.