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Hundreds tested negative after coming into contact with suspected COVID-19 patient



A health officer takes samples for COVID-19 test using RT-PCR method which is proved to produce more exact reliable results than quick tests. — VNA/ Photo Thành Đạt

HCM CITY — More than 340 people who either had direct or indirect contact with a suspected COVID-19 positive patient who was working in HCM City have all tested negative for the virus. 

The South Korean man lived in the city from August 16 to October 24 before leaving for Japan. When he arrived in Tokyo he tested positive for coronavirus. 

The news led agencies to identify 47 people who had close contact with the Korean man and a further 296 people who the 47 had interacted with. 

They were all quarantined and tested and by Wednesday afternoon, all of 343 had returned negative tests. 

The Korean man is an expert working for a Japanese company based in Hà Nội. He entered Việt Nam on July 29 and was quarantined for 14-days before testing negative.

He travelled to work in a few localities in Việt Nam and stayed in HCM City from August 16 to October 24.

After leaving HCM City to travel to Tokyo, he tested positive tat Narita Airport with quick COVID-19 test method CLEIA (chemiluminescence enzyme immunoassay) as per Japan’s regulation.

Japan’s authority would then test him with the confirmatory RT-PCR method and soon inform HCM City’s CDC about the testing result.

It is reported that the Korean expert remains in good health condition.

According to the National Steering Committee for COVId-19 Prevention and Control, Việt Nam reported no new cases on Thursday morning, marking 57 days without any community infections nationwide.

Hà Nội has gone 72 straight days without infections in the community and HCM City 89 straight days.

In total, 1,062 patients have been given the all-clear. The fatalities remain at 35.

Among the active patients, six have tested negative for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 once, three twice and eight three times. There are no patients in critical condition.

As many as 14,216 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or came from overseas are now under health monitoring nationwide,  including 172 in hospitals, 12,812 in other quarantine sites, and 1,232 at home or accommodation facilities.

The Ministry of Health advised the community to continue wearing masks and wash their hands regularly. —



Vietnam halts all inbound commercial flights



Vietnam halts all inbound commercial flights

A Vietnam Airlines aircraft after finishing a commercial flight bringing passengers from South Korea to Hanoi on September 25, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered a temporary halt to all inbound international commercial flights following Vietnam’s new Covid-19 community transmissions.

He said at a cabinet meeting Tuesday that only repatriation flights will be allowed to bring home Vietnamese citizens.

Mai Tien Dung, head of the government office, said the suspension aims to give Vietnam better control over the spread of infection and quarantining of arrivals.

“The government will still allow repatriation flights to bring home those who are really old, sick or facing financial issues,” Dung said.

On Monday, Vietnam’s 88-day streak without any community transmission was snapped when a man in Ho Chi Minh City was confirmed a Covid-19 patient after contracting the virus from his friend, a flight attendant.

After Vietnam halted all international flights from March 25 in an unprecedented move to stem the Covid-19 outbreak, the government green-lighted in September the resumption of commercial flights to seven Asian destinations – mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. However, Vietnamese carriers have not yet been allowed to operate inbound flights while the government finalizes quarantine procedures for foreign passengers.

The PM asked for clarification on the irresponsibility that allowed the latest situation in HCMC.

He said the Ministry of Health and the city authorities have to make clear the responsibility of each individual and organization in the quarantine process of the Vietnam Airlines flight attendant, now “Patient 1342.”

Related agencies should also implement “stronger methods” in managing the quarantine process, the PM ordered.

The flight attendant, 28, had returned to Vietnam on November 14 and was quarantined for four days at a facility managed by Vietnam Airlines in HCMC. After two tests showed he was negative for the coronavirus, he was released from the facility and was asked to isolate himself at his home on Bach Dang Street, Ward 2, Tan Binh District.

The short-term quarantine is a preferential treatment granted only to flight attendants as per current Covid-19 prevention protocol to ensure availability of staff for subsequent flights. Under this protocol, the entire flight crew are quarantined in centralized camps when they return to Vietnam. They undergo two tests at least 72 hours in between. If the results of both tests are negative for the novel coronavirus, they are allowed to go home and self-quarantine themselves for 14 days.

However, “Patient 1342” came into contact with his mother and two friends, including a Vietnamese man working as an English teacher who came to stay with him for several days.

Fifteen days after he returned to Vietnam, on November 29, the flight attendant tested positive for the virus, and the very next day, his English teacher friend followed suit. The latter was tagged Monday as “Patient 1347.”

The teacher, a 32-year-old man living in District 6, has infected at least two others: a one-year-old nephew and a 28-year-old female student, confirmed Tuesday as patients 1349 and 1350.

At a municipal meeting held after the cabinet meeting, HCMC chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong asked related agencies to look into current regulations, especially the 2007 law on the prevention and control of infectious diseases, to handle violations by the flight attendant.

Nguyen Tan Binh, director of the city’s health department, said “Patient 1342” had not just violated rules of self-quarantine at home, but also at the centralized camp of Vietnam Airlines. He had intruded into the space of another flight crew and contracted the virus from another attendant who had been confirmed as “Patient 1325” on November 26.

“This demonstrates loose management of its quarantine facility by Vietnam Airlines,” Binh said.

Under the health ministry’s directions, the facility on Hong Ha Street in Tan Binh District has been suspended.


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Dong Thap flower, ornamental plant output surges



The Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap is expected to increase its flower and ornamental plant output to VND4.14 trillion (US$178 million) worth this year, up three times from 2015,  according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Dong Thap flower, ornamental plant output surges
Sa Dec Flower Village in Dong Thap Province’s Sa Dec City. — VNA/VNS Photos Nguyen Van Tri 

Farmers are expected to earn VND150 – 180 million ($6,400 – 7,300) per 1,000 square metres of growing them.

Dong Thap, one of the largest producers of flowers and ornamental plants in the delta, has zoned areas for them in Sa Dec City and the districts of Lai Vung, Lap Vo and Cao Lanh.

It has developed a model under which flowers and ornamental plants are grown in combination with tourism services, and is implemented very successfully in Sa Dec, its largest flower growing area.

The city has attracted more than three million tourists in the last five years, including 170,000 foreigners.

Nguyen Phuoc Loc, who owns a 2.5ha garden in its Tan Khanh Dong Commune, grows thousands of roses of more than 130 rose varieties and offers homestay services.

Guests could see some unique flowers, enjoy speciality foods and buy Dong Thap’s speciality souvenirs, he said.

The city has many flower gardens offering homestay services.

Nguyen Phuoc Thien, director of the department, said the province’s fresh flowers could be preserved for a long time and so have become popular.

The province plans to expand the area under flowers to 2,981ha and ornamental plants to 1,169ha by 2025, focusing on new varieties, especially popular ones, though it will also focus on preserving traditional varieties, according to the department.

Flowers and ornamental plants are one of its five key agricultural products under its restructuring plan. 

Tet flowers  

Farmers in Dong Thap are growing some three million pots of flowers and ornamental plants to sell during Tet (the Lunar New Year), which falls on February 12 next year.  

The province’s High-Tech Agriculture Application Centre produced disease-free seedlings of more than 100,000 varieties to supply to farmers.  

In Sa Dec, farmers are planting more new varieties of roses, daisies, yellow ochna flowers, and others.

Tran Van Tiep, chairman of the Tôi Yêu Màu Tím Clubhouse in Sa Dec’s Tan Quy Dong Commune, hopes to sell around 30,000 pots of flowers during Tet, 80 per cent of them being new varieties.

He travelled to many places to look for flowers that could grow well in the local soil, including new varieties of daisy, stone lotus and others, he said.

“The new flowers are … growing well.”

Members of the Sa Dec City Yellow Ochna Flower Club are growing around 100 bonsai trees for Tet.

Nguyen Hoang Tuan, its chairman, said the members searched for the yellow ochna flower trees in many places, and they had been growing them for many years in unique shapes. 

Nguyen Thi Ngoc, head of the Sa Dec Economic Bureau, said local farmers had found many new varieties to sell during Tet.

To support them, the bureau had trained them in new techniques in the context of climate change, she said.

The city helped co-operatives and co-operative groups implement models that produce flowers and ornamental plants that are disease free and of high quality, she said.

Dong Thap flower, ornamental plant output surges
Chrysanthemums grown for the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) in Dong Thap Province’s Sa Dec City.

It encouraged farmers to use organic fertilisers and pesticides, she said.   

“The city also helps farmers find outlets for flowers and ornamental plants.”

It has more than 2,500 varieties of flowers and ornamental plants and sells them to many provinces and cities, including HCM City.

It has nine companies and 12 co-operatives, co-operative groups and farmers’ clubhouses growing them.

It encourages farmers to expand the flowers-ornamental plants-tourism services combination.  VNS


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PM orders halt to commercial flights after new cases




The centralised quarantine site for Vietnam Airlines crew located in Ward 2, Tân Bình District is closed. VNA/ Photo

HCMC – Two more community infections of COVID-19 have been detected in HCM City, both connected to the teacher who broke Viet Nam’s three month run of no locally transmitted cases.

One is a 28-year-old woman who is a student of the patient, and the other is reported to be his 14-month old nephew.

Health Minister Nguyễn Thanh Long confirmed the new cases during a meeting on Tuesday.

The English teacher lives in Ward 3 of District 6 and had caught the virus from his friend, a flight attendant with Vietnam Airlines who had breached quarantine rules.

The pair of new cases both came into contact with the teacher, his student during classes he was taking and the toddler who was staying at his home.

All the new cases were confirmed positive after being taken into quarantine.

A number of other people who have come into close contact or secondary contact with the teacher have been tracked by the authorities, tested, and removed to quarantine facilities.

The teacher is a friend of a flight attendant from Vietnam Airlines who tested positive on Sunday. They came into contact when the attendant was under quarantine at a rented house.


Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on Tuesday ordered clarification of responsibilities of those committing the violation.

He also ordered a temporary suspension of all commercial flights to Việt Nam. Repatriation flights will continue, but only for people in difficult situations and special cỉrcumstances. All repatriated passengers must undergo 14 days in quarantine.

The HCM City’s authorities on Tuesday closed a centralised quarantine site for Vietnam Airlines crew located in Ward 2, Tân Bình District.

All crew members being quarantined there have been moved to a different camp in Củ Chi District.

Two primary schools in District 6 were closed on Tuesday after four teachers became F1 and F2 of the community-transmitted case confirmed on Monday.

The city’s Disease Control Centre on Tuesday sent a notice asking people who went to places that Patient 1347 visited to report to local healthcare facilities and take the tests.

The places include Highlands Coffee at Vạn Hạnh Shopping Mall in District 10 from 8pm to 9pm on November 22; ICOOL karaoke bar at 120 Thành Thái Street, District 10 from 10pm to 12pm on November 23; a snail restaurant at 47 Công chúa Ngọc Hân, District 11 from 8pm to 10pm on November 25; CityGym at 119 Phổ Quang, Phú Nhuận District from 1pm to 5pm on November 18, 23, 24, 25 and 26; Key English centre at 59 Nguyễn Bá Tuyển, Tân Bình District from November 18 to 26; Key English centre at 285/24 Cách Mạng Tháng Tám, District 10 from November 18 to 27.

The city’s Disease Control Centre warned that those quarantined at home not to go out in unnecessary situations, limit contact with others and record daily activities in at least 28 days since they visited the above-mentioned places.

If there they show symptoms like fever, coughing or breathing difficulties, they must report to local healthcare facilities.

Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long warned the infection risk in Việt Nam always remained high, especially when the number of repatriation flights will increase during the holiday season.

The minister asked the national flag carrier to follow quarantine protocols at their registered sites and people’s committees of Hà Nội and HCM City where the airlines’ quarantine sites are located to supervise the process.

The minister also proposed not resuming commercial flights due to possible risks they might pose.

He said all Vietnamese nationals, even those on repatriation flights must have virus-free certificates to be qualified to enter the country.

He warned that people must continue to wear face masks, sanitise their hands, social distance, avoid crowds and fill in medical declarations.

Meanwhile, two more imported cases were detected on Tuesday evening. The men, aged 47 and 57, were both repatriated from Canada.






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