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06 Feb 2020 | 08:02 PM UTC

Vietnam: Officials confirm 12 coronavirus cases as of February 6 /update 5

Vietnamese health officials confirm 12 coronavirus cases nationwide as of February 6; transportation restrictions to China remain in place

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Event

Health officials in Vietnam have confirmed 12 cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as of Thursday, February 6. The most recent cases were reported in the northern Vinh Phuc province on Thursday and are Vietnamese nationals. At least three people with coronavirus had no recent travel history to China, where the outbreak began. Health authorities have started constructing field hospitals across the country, including in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and near the border with China, in case the outbreak continues to spread in Vietnam. The hospitals will be used to “receive, monitor, and treat” all suspected patients of 2019-nCoV .

Travel restrictions to China remain in place as of Thursday, with all passenger trains to and from China suspended indefinitely. The government has suspended issuing tourist visas to mainland Chinese citizens, as well Chinese citizens who are permanent residents of Hong Kong and Macau. Vietnam Airlines has also halted service to mainland China as a precaution.

Further international spread of the 2019-nCoV virus is to be expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in more than 25 countries and territories worldwide. Human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in Germany, Japan, the US, and Vietnam. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the ongoing novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak is a "public health emergency of international concern."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:

  • Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
  • Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
  • Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask
  • Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments
  • Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease.