Mr. Pham Duy Tuyen, Director of Hai Duong Province Centre for Disease Control (CDC), said the woman’s positive test result was available on January 17 at Japan's airport where COVID-19 screening tests are done for all arrivals, but only yesterday did local authorities were informed of the situation.

According to Mr. Tuyen, the woman, named N.T.G, is a worker at POUL, a company based in Cong Hoa Industrial Park in Chi Linh City, Hai Duong and was sent to Japan on an overseas labour agreement on a flight departing from Hanoi and transiting through Singapore on January 17.

Genomic sequencing results on January 26 indicates that the woman was infected with the coronavirus variant first reported in the UK, which was considered to be much more transmissible though not necessarily resulting in more serious disease.

Hung Dao Commune in Chi Linh City, where the woman was living, said they only received the information on Tuesday, and have identified 16 close contacts of the suspected case – mostly her relatives.

The 16 people who had close contacts with the woman have been moved to centralised quarantine facilities for isolation and will be tested for COVID-19. Their places of residences have also been disinfected.

The management of Cong Hoa Industrial Park is also tracking people she had close contact with. Further epidemiologic investigation is ongoing, commune’s authorities said.

The woman took part in a Japanese language training course in Hanoi, and returned to her hometown and worked in Hai Duong since August last year.

On January 16, she left for Hanoi to do pre-flight procedures and her COVID-19 test returns negative. She then came back to Hai Duong to have a farewell party.

On January 17, her family rented a car, with eight on board, to leave for Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi.

Nguyen Thu Hang

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