Twenty Vietnamese and more than 60 South Korean passengers on a flight from the virus-hit Daegu City in South Korea landed in Da Nang on Monday morning from where they were immediately transported by ambulances to quarantine sites following the increase in COVID-19 cases in the East Asian country in recent days. 


The decision was made at a Government meeting to weigh up the risks of the coronavirus spreading into Vietnam from South Korea.

The number of people infected with the SARS-CoVI-2 in South Korea, the new novel coronavirus that first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, jumped to 833 as of 4pm Monday, making it the biggest virus centre outside China. Seven deaths were reported in the country.

Daegu City and the surrounding North Gyeongsang Province are the biggest clusters of the country affected by the epidemic.

“The risk of disease spreading from the outbreak zones in South Korea into Vietnam via flights is very high,” deputy health minister Do Xuan Tuyen said at the meeting.

Vietnam already recommended its citizens to restrain from visiting Daegu and North Gyeongsang as well as not encouraging foreigners to fly into Vietnam via those places.

The health ministry on Monday also said all travellers from South Korea were obliged to submit health declaration forms when entering Vietnam.

The new requirement went into effect at 3pm on Saturday at all border gates as the Government stayed on high alert over the worsening coronavirus outbreak in South Korea.

According to the health ministry, declaration forms will be provided at immigration gates.

Travellers from South Korea who are spotted with signs of symptoms like fever, coughing or breathing difficulties will be immediately taken into quarantine and have a general health check, said the ministry.

In a separate move, the province of Khanh Hoa decided to suspend flights to and from Daegu.

Khanh Hoa Department of Health deputy director Le Tan Hung said all flights to and from Daegu have been cancelled since Saturday with no dates given as to when they will resume.

Da Nang meanwhile placed all 80 passengers aboard a Monday flight from Daegu in quarantine after they arrived. Among them, 20 are South Korea nationals while 60 are Vietnamese.
They will be quarantined for 14 days, said the Da Nang Department of Health.

Deputy minister of labour, invalid and social affairs Le Van Thanh said there were about 200,000 Vietnamese nationals living in South Korea, citing statistics from the South Korean Ministry of Justice. Among them, more than 26,700 are residing in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province.

As of Monday, no Vietnamese were recorded ill, Thanh said.

He added that Vietnam’s labour management department in South Korea was proactively in contact with its partners like the Ministry of Employment and Labour, the Korea Immigration Service and the Ministry of Justice to get updates on the country’s latest policies on foreign workers during the outbreak.

New information will be delivered to Vietnamese workers via several channels like the office of the labour management department, a website for Vietnamese in South Korea or local associations of Vietnamese community across the country, Thanh said.

Vietnam also set up a hotline and focal points for communications in Daegu and North Gyeongsang to closely track the health of the citizens and carry out support measures when needed, he said.

The labour ministry on Monday said it was reviewing the number of Vietnamese workers overseas, especially in large labour markets for Vietnamese workers like South Korea, Japan and Taiwan (China) in order to develop emergency plans when an outbreak occurred.

The ministry chief of staff Nguyen Ba Hoan said the ministry was tracking the number of workers and experts in each country and territory, with a focus on those who were returning to Vietnam in the future.

At a Government meeting with the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control on Monday, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered ministries and localities to continue to take preventive measures and ensure socio-economic development continued as normal.

The Cabinet leader assigned the Ministry of Planning and Investment and other ministries to issue a direction to promote business and production and stabilise growth.

He also asked Vietnamese tourism firms and airlines, along with associations and sectors, to launch campaigns in countries not heavily affected by the virus SARS-CoV-2.

The business sector must find solutions to the interrupted supply of goods from China and South Korea, he said.

“We have to consider when schools should be re-opened. The exact time can not be fixed today and will depend on how the situation develops. The Ministry of Education and Training will make the final decision on Thursday or Friday,” Phuc said.

Minister, Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung has suggested re-opening universities, colleges, intermediate schools and high schools from March 2.

Children at lower levels like kindergartens, primary and secondary schools could have two more weeks off depending on the situation, he said.  

COVID-19 preventive measures enhanced in shopping centres, tourist areas

The Ministry of Health has issued recommendations on how to prevent the COVID-19 epidemic in shopping centres, supermarkets, parks and tourist areas.

Shoppers are recommended to wear masks in supermarkets. Photo thoibaotaichinhvietnam.vn

The letter was released as the epidemic continues to spread around the world.

Employers and managers at these destinations must ensure all areas are disinfected once a day.

Staff working at shopping centres, supermarkets, parks and tourist areas will also have their temperatures taken.

If anyone shows symptoms of fever, a cough or shortness of breath, they must notify their managers and self-monitor at home after seeking advice from health facilities.

Suspected cases will not be allowed back to work until they are given the all-clear.

Staff who have direct contact with customers such as salespeople are required to wear masks and limit contact during working hours.

Regular hand washing is also stipulated.

Visitors have also been given similar instructions about wearing masks, washing hands and covering their noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing.

The Ministry of Health has also given instructions to disinfection in the service areas.

Floors, walls, furniture, kiosks, children's play areas and toilets must be disinfected every day.

Doors, knobs, banisters, elevator buttons and handrails must be disinfected at least four times a day.

Ventilation in rooms, sale booths and play areas in shopping centres and supermarkets must be enhanced by opening doors and windows and restricting the use of air conditioners.

Waste must be collected and treated daily.

Managers in these areas must be supplied with masks, disinfectant, clean water and dustbins, while ensuring food safety and hygiene.

Employers are responsible for informing their staff about these measures.

In suspected cases, patients should be isolated immediately and local health authorities should be informed via hotlines 19003228 or 19009095.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, shopping centres, supermarkets and tourist areas have been welcoming fewer clients and visitors. – VNS

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