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This is the 17th case in Vietnam and the very first patient to test positive in Hanoi, putting an end to a straight 22 days of success for the nationwide containment scheme.
The COVID-19 contagion appeared to be contained in Vietnam as the number of confirmed infections stopped at 16, with all patients successfully cured.
Sensing a turning tide, a slew of Vietnamese schools and businesses were planning to return to normal operations, however, things have changed drastically after March 6.
The person, dubbed “Patient 17”, seemed to have avoided taking self-quarantine measures prescribed by the Vietnamese government, despite having travelled to a virus-affected country and experiencing the symptoms of the sickness. Information about the patient was officially announced in late February 6 at an emergency meeting of Hanoi People's Committee after the test results were confirmed by the Central Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.
|The emergency meeting of Hanoi People's Committee after the virus test results were confirmed by the Central Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology|
According to the latest announcement of the Ministry of Health, Patient 17, Nguyen Hong Nhung, resides in Truc Bach ward, Ba Dinh district – one of the central areas of the city.
She flew to London, UK on February 15, then moved to Milan, Italy to leave on February 18. At the time, Lombardy had not reported any cases of infection.
On February 25, Patient 17 went to Paris, France to meet his sister, who was also infected with COVID-19, then returned to London.
Four days later, she started coughing but did not go to a clinic, despite her condition being quite severe.
On March 1, Nhung’s health began deteriorating further while flying back to Vietnam on Vietnam Airlines flight VN54, seat 5K. The flight landed at Noi Bai International Airport at 4:30am on March 2.
Airports in Vietnam, though no infections have been detected recently, are checking passengers' temperature and asking them about symptoms. However, Nhung did not have a fever at the time, so she decided not to report her health issues nor her schedule and travel details to authorities.
On March 5, after running a constant fever accompanied by cough and tiredness, Nhung went to Hong Ngoc Hospital on Yen Ninh Street, Ba Dinh district for medical checkup, after which she was transferred to the Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Dong Anh district.
Currently, Nhung and some of her family members are strictly isolated and monitored for symptoms of COVID-19 at the Central Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.
Two residential blocks at Truc Bach and Chau Long Street in Ba Dinh district werer also put under quarantine yesterday (March 6) as per the contagion-prevention policy.
|Two residential blocks at Truc Bach and Chau Long Street in Ba Dinh district were also quarantined|
In addition to humanitarian concerns, a potential surge in cases presents a challenge for the Vietnamese economy as well.
What makes the case of Patient 17 more dangerous is that she has spent considerable time in public where few people wore face masks, without acknowledging her situation, which makes containment even more challenging.
“There is growing fear and resentment among residents in Hanoi right now,” said Nguyen Duc Chung, Chairman of Hanoi’s People Committee. “However, we will adopt drastic measures to contain the virus immediately."