The Ministry of Health on March 21 evening announced two more cases who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19, bringing the total in Vietnam so far to 94.

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The 93rd case is a 20-year-old male student from Hungary. He landed at Noi Bai airport on March 18 on Flight SU290. His samples were tested positive by the Hanoi Centre for Disease Control for the first time on March 20.

Second test by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology showed the same result on March 21.

The 94th case is a 64-year-old woman from the northern province of Bac Giang. She came to the Czech Republic to visit her daughter from February 29. She landed at Noi Bai airport on March 18 on the same flight as the 93rd patient.

Both patients are being treated at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases No.2 in Hanoi’s Dong Anh district, and in stable condition.

Two medical workers tested positive for SARS-CoV-2

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Two female nurses of the Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital have become the first Vietnamese medical workers to be infected with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

The 86th patient is a 54-year-old nurse at the HIV Outpatient Clinic of the Bach Mai Hospital’s Centre for Tropical Diseases.

She went on a vacation with her family from Hanoi to Con Dao island in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau on March 6. They boarded flight VN7209 from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and flight VN8059 from HCM City to Con Dao.

After returning to Hanoi on March 8, the nurse went to work as usual one day later without any symptoms.

On March 11, she started to feel tightness across her chest, without cough and fever, and was admitted to the Bach Mai Hospital’s Heart Institute (C4) to get treatment for hypertension and tightness at her chest for four days.

She was discharged from the institute on March 19. But as she was confirmed to have been in close contact with the 87th patient, she was given a COVID-19 test the same day, and the result was positive.

On March 20 afternoon, her second test also showed the positive result. She is now being treated at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases No. 2 in Hanoi’s outskirt district of Dong Anh.

The 87th patient is a 34-year-old nurse who is in charge of receiving people to a quarantine area of the Bach Mai Hospital’s Centre for Tropical Diseases.

She exhibited symptoms like fatigue, cough and fever on March 18, and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 at the Bach Mai Hospital.

The patient was then transferred to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases No. 2 and her second test was also positive.

Inpatients currently being treated in the Bach Mai Hospital’s Centre for Tropical Diseases have been transferred to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases for further treatment.

The 88th case is a 25-year-old female resident of Hanoi’s district of Ha Dong. A student in the UK, she came back through Noi Bai airport on March 12 and underwent a self-quarantine at home until March 16 when she felt difficult breathing. Her sample test later turned out to be positive, and she is now being under quarantine with stable health conditions.

The 89th is a 22-year-old female resident of Ho Chi Minh City. She travelled from New York, Boston of the US to Japan and from Japan to Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City on March 17 night on Flight NH831. Entering Vietnam, she showed no symptoms of the disease but her sample was taken on March 18 early morning and later tested positive. The patient is now quarantined in the city’s Cu Chi district.

The 90th is a 21-year-old female resident of Ho Chi Minh City. Over the past one month, she came to Barcelona in Spain and on March 15, she headed to Dubai from Barcelona on Flight EK188. She arrived at Tan Son Nhat airport on March 16 on Flight EK 392. Entering Vietnam, she had a light fever and cough. Her sample tested positive later.

The 91st is a 43-year-old British pilot of Vietnam Airlines residing in Ho Chi Minh City. He was a passenger on Flight VN10 from London to Vietnam on February 8, but could not recall his subsequent itinerary and international and domestic flights. He served as a pilot on Flight VN272 from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi on March 16 and Flight VN607 from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City the same day. From March 13-18, he stayed in Ho Chi Minh City and visited a number of eateries and recreation establishments. On March 17, he started to have a fever and cough and on March 18 afternoon, he was admitted to the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases with a lung problem. His sample tested positive on March 18 night and March 20, and he is now being treated at the hospital.

A 21-year-old Vietnamese student from France was confirmed as the 92nd case.

The man flew on Flight QR40 from Paris to Doha on March 16, before landing March 17 at Ho Chi Minh City-based Tan Son Nhat Airport on Flight QR970.

Upon entry, he did not display any symptoms of COVID-19 and was sent to a concentrated quarantine area in District 12, HCM City.

On March 17, the man developed fever, sore throat and dry cough, and was transferred to the acute respiratory disease hospital in HCM City’s Cu Chi district a day later.

The HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases confirmed his sample as positive on March 19 night. The same testing result was confirmed by the Pasteur Institute of HCM City on March 21.

Medical consultation group set up for severe COVID-19 cases

Medical experts discuss treatment for COVID-19 patients in Vietnam

The Ministry of Health on March 20 said that it has set up a specialised medical consultation group for the treatment of severe and critical COVID-19 cases in Vietnam.

The group comprises of 30 experts in the departments of intensive care, emergency, infectious diseases, microbiology, nutrition and pharmacy from leading hospitals such as the Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital, the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases and Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, among others.

It will be supervised by Assoc. Prof., Dr Luong Ngoc Khue, Director of the Health Ministry’s Department for Medical Examination and Treatment, and headed by Prof. Dr. Nguyen Gia Binh, Chairman of the Critical Care Medicine, Emergency Medicine and Poison Control Association of Vietnam.

The group will hold direct or online consultations per request of hospitals in charge of severe cases, and analyse the progress of those cases to give recommendations and suitable treatment for each patient.

With one more patient discharged from the hospital on March 20 morning, 17 out of 85 confirmed COVID-19 patients in Vietnam were declared cured and allowed to go home.

At present, COVID-19 patients are being treated at 12 medical facilities nationwide. There are 31 patients under treatment at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases, with two in critical conditions./.

PM orders preventing COVID-19 spread in community

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has requested the performance of measures to prevent the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and curb its spread in the community.

During a meeting between permanent members of the government and the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Hanoi on March 20, PM Phuc said the Politburo lauded efforts of the entire Party, people and armed forces in the fight against the epidemic.

As the “golden time” to combat COVID-19 is only one week away, the government leader asked for the continued vigilance in the fight against COVID-19.

PM Phuc called on the whole society to switch to online transactions or via mobile phones and limit face-to-face meetings to prevent infections. In crowded or COVID-19-hit areas, it is a must to wear face masks, he stressed.

The Ministry of Education and Training was required to enhance online teaching while people were urged to not come to karaoke clubs or massage parlours, which he said, should be suspended or even shut down.

The PM ordered raising public awareness of the effort to strengthen their trust, as well as increasing the use of technological advances in the regard.

As the granting of visas to Vietnam will be suspended from 0:00 on March 21, authorities were required to minimise visitor arrivals in Vietnam via airway, road or seaway, he said.

PM Phuc said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Vietnamese embassies must encourage overseas Vietnamese to stay in their host countries for treatment if necessary. In case they still want to return home, flights will be arranged at an appropriate time, he said.

According to the government leader, all people entering Vietnam will be quarantined and those violating quarantine regulations will be strictly punished.

The health sector and authorities were asked to promptly discover infection cases to provide treatment, thus minimising deaths.

The PM also agreed with the proposal to pool all possible means and resources, especially humans, to fight the pandemic.

Vietnam has enough food and necessities to meet public demand, he said, stressing that it is prohibited to hoard goods to seek profits from the epidemic.

No discrimination in COVID-19 quarantine: Deputy PM

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam

There is no discrimination in quarantine for COVID-19 and no high-class quarantine facility for people paying service fees, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam affirmed at a meeting in Hanoi on March 20.

The self-paying quarantine facilities are set up for diplomatic and official passport holders, experts in key projects, and important trade partners, it was agreed at the meeting of the national steering committee for preventing and combating COVID-19.

Dam, who is head of the committee, emphasised the core role of the military force in quarantining. He asked the involved military units to continue implementing strictly quarantine regulations issued by the Ministry of Health.

The heath sector should encourage people to join the voluntary health declarations to make it easier for the classification of cases, he ordered.

Deputy PM Dam called for special attention to be paid to vulnerable groups such as the elderly, people with chronic diseases and disabilities, warning them to limit traveling and stay at home.

According to the Ministry of Health, as of 12:00 noon on March 20, Vietnam recorded 85 COVID-19 cases, of which 17 have been cured and discharged from hospital.

More than 38,000 people having close contact with confirmed infection cases or entering Vietnam from pandemic-hit areas are being quarantined.

Overseas Vietnamese receive support in wake of COVID-19

The Vietnamese Embassy in Laos has recommended Vietnamese citizens in the country not to panic and rush home as no cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Laos so far.

To prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19, the Lao government has activated the highest preparedness level, using such measures as closing all schools, scrapping big gatherings, closing almost border gates with Vietnam and Thailand and suspending the majority of international flights, according to the embassy.

The embassy has also asked the community to keep a close watch on the developments of the epidemic.

In case of emergency, it is recommended to contact the embassy via hotlines 85620 96106775 or 85620 92546868, and the Vietnamese Consulate Generals in the country.

Meanwhile, the Vietnamese Embassy in Switzerland has called on Vietnamese in the country to seriously observe regulations on COVID-19 combat set by local authorities.

The embassy contacted EUROASIA, an airline ticket company in Bern, and the firm said it is willing to provide information about flights to Vietnam via 0319719787 and 0792224228.

The Vietnamese mission to the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the other international organisations in Geneva also set up working groups in charge of dealing with emergency incidents during the epidemic combat.

In Australia, the Vietnamese Students’ Association in New South Wales said after collecting information about the disease across the state, it will make plans to support Vietnamese students there.

The Vietnamese students will be connected with local authorities and schools, Vietnamese representative agencies, and media agencies of the two countries to get relevant information.

Vietnam has the fourth largest number of students in Australia, with 20,000 at present.

Religious events to be cancelled due to COVID-19

The Government Committee for Religious Affairs on March 20 asked religious organisations and worship places to suspend festivals, conferences and activities for large crowds.

The religious organisations were also asked not to send followers to events abroad and receive visitors coming from coronavirus-hit areas.

These organisations should increase online services and interactions instead, the committee said.

Places of worship at risk of any coronavirus infection or suspicion of infection must inform authorities for disinfection and closure.

The committee also asked Vietnamese followers of different faiths to refrain from repatriating during the epidemic period and only do so when it is really necessary, following due precautions.

Vietnam has recorded 92 COVID-19 cases so far, of which 17 have been cured and discharged from hospital.

Vietjet offers SKY COVID CARE insurance for passengers

New-age carrier Vietjet offers the SKY COVID CARE insurance with coverage ranging from 20,000,000 VND (856.9 USD) to a maximum of 200,000,000 VND (8,569 USD) for all passengers flying on its domestic flights from March 23 to June 30, 2020.

With the insurance, passengers are eligible for insurance coverage and benefits from Vietjet within 30 days starting at 00:01 of the flight date, regardless of how passengers are infected with the disease.

To be eligible for insurance coverage, passengers need to provide all information in accordance with Vietjet’s “Terms and conditions” when purchasing tickets and using aviation services; and comply with all regulations on disease prevention and control of Vietjet, the Ministry of Health and authorities.

Lao Airlines suspends flights to Vietnam due to COVID-19

Lao Airlines, the national flag carrier of Laos, said on March 20 that it will suspend all of the flights to Vietnam amidst the complex developments of COVID-19.

The cancelled flights comprise QV311/312 to Hanoi and QV515/516 to Ho Chi Minh City between March 21 and April 30, along with QV 313/314 and QV 315/316 to Hanoi from March 22 to April 30.

The launch of a route linking Laos with Vietnam’s central city of Da Nang will also be halted until further notice.

Apart from Vietnam, the carrier will suspend flights to many destinations in the world until April 30, including Seoul of the Republic of Korea; Changzhou, Shanghai, Wenzhou and Jinghong of China; Phnom Penh and Siem Riep of Cambodia; and Bangkok and Chiang Mai of Thailand.

Also on March 20, the British Embassy in Laos warned that British nationals visiting or living in the country and intending to return to the UK should make arrangements to do so as soon as possible. The number of international flights departing from Laos is reducing rapidly as a result of travel restrictions in the region and global.

Two more flights with COVID-19 cases announced

Vietnamese students returning from Europe are waiting to move to concentrated quarantine areas.

The Ministry of Health announced on March 20 night that it has identified two more flights with passengers carrying the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

They are All Nippon Airways flight NH831 from Tokyo to Ho Chi Minh City on March 17, and Emirates flight EK392 from Dubai to Ho Chi Minh City on March 16.

The ministry called on all passengers on the flights to contact disease control centres of cities and provinces for guidance on health monitoring.

Airline ticket agents are responsible for notifying the passengers who bought tickets for those flights.

Vietnam recorded 91 COVID-19 cases as of March 20 night, of which 17 have been cured and discharged from hospital.

COVID-19 fight now Vietnam’s top priority: Deputy FM

Permanent Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son

At the request of US Deputy Secretary of State Steven Biegun, Permanent Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son on March 20 held phone talks with leading officials of the foreign ministries of the US, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea and India on the situation of the COVID-19.

During the talks, the officials shared information on the complex developments of the pandemic and said that in the current context, their countries are prioritising every resource and taking strong measures to contain the spread of the disease.

Son and his partners agreed that regional and international cooperation has an important role to play in containing the spread and controlling the pandemic in the time to come.

The official affirmed that fighting the COVID-19 is Vietnam’s current top priority, adding the government is very resolute and mobilising all the resources for the work. He asked the US and other countries to continue sharing information and intensifying their cooperation with Vietnam in this effort.

The countries should consolidate and bring into play available regional and international mechanisms, including those of the ASEAN, in the fight against the pandemic, he said, adding they should also continue the measures aimed at minimising its impact on economic growth and social stability and expressing his belief that the joint endeavors and cooperation of the international community will help roll back the pandemic in the time to come.

Steven and other officials spoke highly of Vietnam’s strong and proactive measures in the COVID-19 fight over the recent past and highlighted that Vietnam is one of the countries effectively coping with the pandemic. They also reaffirmed support for Vietnam in the work in the time to come./.

Hanoi donors contribute over 176,000 USD to COVID-19 relief effort

Organisations, businesses and individuals in Hanoi make donations to aid the country’s COVID-19 relief effort.

Organisations, businesses and individuals in Hanoi have so far donated more than 4.1 billion VND (nearly 176,300 USD) COVID-19 relief effort, said the Hanoi chapter of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF Hanoi) on March 20.

The donations were made in response to the VFF Central Committee’s call for all people to contribute to the pandemic prevention and control.

Among the largest contributors were the Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex), who donated medical supplies worth 3 billion VND, the Hanoi chapter of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha donating 650 million VND for the installment of a negative pressure room to treat infected people, and Tho Lao Pagoda in Hai Ba Trung district with a donation of 100 million VND.

Not only fortunate people, the less fortune have also joined the national effort to combat the wide-spreading coronavirus which has infected 85 people in Vietnam so far. Nguyen Van Ta from Hung Tien commune, My Duc district has donated his savings to the relief fund.

Chairwoman of the VFF Hanoi Nguyen Lan Huong expressed her heartfelt thanks to the donors, pledging all the donations will be used to curb the spread of the virus.

She also urged people to continue supporting the campaign by contributing money, necessary things and ideas.

On the same day, Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung dismissed rumors about a lockdown of Hanoi since the number of confirmed cases in the capital city continues rising.

Hanoi is putting the pandemic under control, he said, calling people to stay calm and be cautious about the rumors.

Chung went on to say that the municipal steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control will provide local people with regular updates and transparent information about the outbreak.

The city will continue taking drastic measures to protect people’s lives and health as well as contain the virus transmission, he added.

COVID-19: More places required to accommodate quarantined people

People at concentrated quarantine area

The National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has requested relevant ministries and localities to arrange more places as quarantine areas, and coordinate with the Defence Ministry to receive quarantined people in case the army’s areas are overcrowded.

In its latest dispatch sent to the Ministries of Defence, Public Security, Foreign Affairs and Transport and People’s Committees of provinces and cities, the steering committee required effective medical quarantine for those entering Vietnam from pandemic-hit countries and territories.

It asked flight attendants to guide passengers to complete e-medical declaration forms right in the planes. Vietnamese and foreign passengers have two separate areas to conduct quarantine procedures. In case congestion occurs at the airport, the work will be conducted at concentrated quarantine areas.

Concerned ministries and localities should continue implementing the committee’s dispatch No.1272/CV-BCD and the Health Ministry’s dispatch No.1271/BYT-DP on organising quarantine and taking samples for testing to prevent COVID-19 spread.

Relevant ministries and People’s Committees of provinces and cities are responsible for organising concentrated quarantine for those coming from ASEAN, Europe, the US, China, the Republic of Korea and Iran. For citizens from ASEAN member states, Malaysian passengers are prioritised to take test samples.

Those who have visa exemption must show documents affirming they are not positive for the SARS-CoV-2 granted by their countries’ authorised offices and accepted by Vietnam’s health office. The measure is not applied with those entering Vietnam for diplomatic and official purposes.

For those coming from or transitting through countries and territories which were less affected by the pandemic, passengers have to be quarantined at home or their places of stay with close health monitoring.

By March 20 morning, Vietnam had recorded 85 infection cases.