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Coronavirus lockdown: top Hanoi hospital linked to Vietnam’s biggest cluster

Coronavirus lockdown: top Hanoi hospital linked to Vietnam’s biggest cluster

  • Vietnam officials order one of the nation’s largest medical centres to be locked down
  • Thousands of employees and people who recently visited Hanoi’s Bach Mai Hospital to be tested

Agencies

Published: 3:59pm, 29 Mar, 2020

A health worker at one of Vietnam's largest hospitals, Bach Mai, in Hanoi. Photo: Reuters

A health worker at one of Vietnam’s largest hospitals, Bach Mai, in Hanoi. Photo: Reuters

Vietnam has locked down one of its largest hospitals and main treatment centres for Covid-19 after the nation’s biggest cluster of cases was linked to the facility, the government said.

Hanoi’s Bach Mai Hospital, which is home to the capital’s centre for treating tropical diseases, has been officially isolated. As of Sunday morning, 16 virus cases have been linked to the facility, with both patients and staff among those infected, according to a government statement.

Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has ordered the city to mobilise all available forces to contain the outbreak, state media said Sunday.

On March 25, Vietnamese officials announced they would test 4,000 staff and 1,000 patients in Bach Mai Hospital after three Covid-19 cases were linked to the facility. Since then, the number of confirmed cases in the cluster has been steadily increasing.

The Southeast Asian country, which has 179 confirmed cases and no reported deaths from the virus, has tied most recent infections to people arriving from Europe and other countries. The government, which is aggressively isolating foreigners and Vietnamese citizens entering the country from abroad, has quarantined or placed under monitoring 75,085 people, according to the Ministry of Health. It has also suspended most international flights, restricted domestic travel and closed most businesses across the country.

Health workers check temperatures of visitors at the entrance of Bach Mai hospital in Hanoi last Tuesday. Photo; AFP

Health workers check temperatures of visitors at the entrance of Bach Mai hospital in Hanoi last Tuesday. Photo; AFP

Authorities are now working to avert an outbreak that would threaten the lives of many critically ill patients at the hospital as well as a sudden domestic spread of the virus. In the past 10 days, 14,000 people made outpatient visits to the hospital, Dan Tri news website reported, citing information from the Hanoi Centre for Disease Control. The health ministry is asking those who visited Bach Mai since March 12 to contact local authorities and self-quarantine at home for 14 days.

DPA and Bloomberg

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