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Ho Chi Minh City reports COVID-19 patient arriving from epicenter

Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday morning confirmed a passenger hailing from the now epicenter of northern Hai Duong Province, who arrived in the southern metropolis on a flight from Hanoi, had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The male passenger, whose hometown is in Nam Sach District, Hai Duong, came into contact with patient No. 1,612 at a wedding party on January 18 before boarding the flight VN213 from Noi Bai International Airport to Ho Chi Minh City at 3:00 pm on Thursday.

The city’s Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control announced his positive test result during a virtual meeting on Saturday morning.

“From the beginning, we applied all measures and put the patient in isolation on the night of January 28 with symptoms of cough and fever,” said director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health Nguyen Tan Binh at the meeting.

Twelve cases who had close contact with the patient have also been quarantined, according to the municipal health department, with their first test results all returning negative for the virus. Other four cases are still waiting for their results.

On Friday night, the Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control (HCDC) issued an urgent notice to find passengers boarding the same VN213 flight as the aforementioned patient.

The HCDC recommended that all passengers traveling on the above flight contact the local health authorities for guidances on medical quarantine and COVID-19 testing.

Ho Chi Minh City reports COVID-19 patient arriving from epicenter

Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health Nguyen Tan Binh speaks at a virtual meeting on COVID-19 prevention and control in the city, January 30, 2021. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

Earlier, the HCDC had also said on Friday morning it would increase the quarantine period to 21 days for people who had come into contact with the confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection and those returning from epidemic areas in Hai Duong and Quang Ninh Provinces.

In a related move, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health recommends that local hospitals activate the infection prevention and control mode at the highest alert level, re-establish quarantine rooms at the clinical wards and the isolation areas for COVID-19 treatment according to regulations.

Vietnam confirmed 34 more local coronavirus cases on Saturday morning, excluding the new case in Ho Chi Minh City.

The number of patients mounted to 1,740, with 1,448 recoveries and 35 virus-related deaths, according to a Tuoi Tre News tally.

The country had gone almost two months without any locally transmitted cases until the latest coronavirus outbreak, which began on Thursday and has spread to five northern cities and provinces, including Hanoi.

Authorities are conducting quick and extensive contact tracing to contain the new wave of infections, at a time when the Lunar New Year holiday, Vietnam’s biggest festival, is only two weeks away.

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