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Coronavirus Update: Vietnam’s Cases Rise to 39; Patients' Health Improves

Nine new coronavirus cases in Vietnam have been confirmed within the last three days.

On March 9, Vietnam’s 31st Covid-19 case was announced. The patient is a 49-year-old British man who was on the same London-Hanoi flight as NHN, the high-profile first new case in Vietnam after weeks of no new patients. Case 32 is a 24-year-old Vietnamese woman who is friends with Case 17, and the 33rd case is another British man.

On March 10, the Ministry of Health confirmed the county’s 34th patient, DTLT, a 51-year-old Vietnamese businesswoman. Case 34 is not linked to the London-Hanoi flight.

T traveled to New York from Saigon on February 22 via Incheon International Airport in South Korea. She flew back on February 29 from Washington DC, transiting in Qatar before arriving at Tan Son Nhat Airport on March 2, according to Sai Gon Giai Phong.

T then took a car to Phan Thiet in Binh Thuan Province, and three days later came down with a fever and cough. During the time she was in Binh Thuan, she came into contact with family members and employees.

On March 11, the Binh Thuan provincial Ministry of Health announced three new cases linked to Case 34, making the province more vulnerable to future infections. One is T’s housemaid, one is her employee and the third patient is her daughter-in-law. The four patients are receiving treatment at the provincial hospital.

In response, the health ministry has sent an urgent support team consisting of doctors from Cho Ray Hospital in Saigon to Binh Thuan to help them manage the coronavirus outbreak there. 

On the same day, Vietnam decided to temporarily stop the visa exemption program applied to eight European countries, including Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, England, Germany, France and Spain. The Vietnamese embassy in London has also reportedly stopped processing new visa applications.

Meanwhile, two further cases linked to Case 17 have also been confirmed. Case 35 is a 29-year-old supermarket employee in Da Nang who was in contact with two British tourists on the London-Hanoi flight who have tested positive for coronavirus. Case 39 is a 25-year-old Hanoian tour guide who was hired by a British national on that flight.

On a more positive note, Nguyen Truong Son, the deputy minister of health, recently said that the health status of the 23 new patients is currently stable. Case 17, who had shown signs of pneumonia earlier, has stopped having a fever for three days. Case 32's fever also cleared on March 11. 

Tuoi Tre reports that the secretary of the central committee, Nguyen Thien Nhan, recently encouraged government agencies to avoid hosting meetings with 100 or more participants. Should a meeting be conducted, it must be compulsory for participants to wear masks when entering the room.

In light of the increasing number of coronavirus cases, Da Nang and Dong Thap Province have officially closed all schools until March 29. Kindergartens, primary and secondary schools in Dong Nai Province will remain closed until April 4, and all students in Binh Thuan and Vinh Long will remain at home until further notice.

For other provinces, schools will reopen on March 15. In light of this, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training proposed to the city People's Committee that authorities provide enough masks to last students and staff in high schools and continuing education centers for three months. This means that 1,339,588 students and 51,036 education employees will receive masks should the proposal be approved.

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