Vietnam Jails Man For Five Years For Spreading COVID-19

A medical worker collects a sample to be tested for the Covid-19 coronavirus ahead of the new semester at a primary school in Shenyang in China’s northeastern Liaoning province on August 30, 2021.
STR / AFP

 

 

A Vietnamese man has been sentenced to five years in jail for spreading Covid-19 after he breached home quarantine rules.

Le Van Tri was convicted of “spreading dangerous infectious diseases to other people” after he travelled to his home province Ca Mau from coronavirus hotspot Ho Chi Minh City in July, according to a report on the website of the provincial People’s Court.

The 28-year old was accused of breaching a 21-day home quarantine regulation in the southern province, which had a lower case rate than Ho Chi Minh City, and he tested positive for Covid-19 on July 7.

“Tri’s breach of the home medical quarantine regulation led to many people becoming infected with Covid-19 and one person died on 7 August 2021,” according to the court report.

State media said eight people became infected because of Tri.

After keeping case numbers low last year, Vietnam is now dealing with its most serious Covid-19 outbreak so far, with nearly 540,000 infections and more than 13,000 deaths recorded.

The vast majority of infections and deaths have been reported since the end of April, and Vietnam’s capital Hanoi and commercial hub Ho Chi Minh city have been in strict lockdown for most of the past few months.

Several people have been sentenced for spreading Covid-19 to others in Vietnam.

A 32-year old man in Hai Duong was sentenced to 18 months in prison in July and a Vietnam Airlines flight attendant was handed a two-year suspended jail term in March for the same charge.

Agricultural Collaboration Will Benefit Nigeria, Vietnam – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that Agricultural collaboration will benefit Nigeria and Vietnam.

“With the opportunities existing in agriculture & technology in Nigeria and Vietnam, both countries will benefit from effective collaboration in these sectors and thereby deepen their friendly relationships”.

The Vice President stated on Monday at the Presidential Villa during a courtesy visit by the Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to Nigeria, Luong Quoe.

He said “There are specific areas where we have talked about in the past, agriculture is one. There was also talk about cashew processing and rice growing and rice processing where Vietnam has shown great innovation and great success. We think that these are areas where we certainly can do a lot more with cooperation.”

The Vice President also noted that other areas of collaboration between Nigeria and Vietnam would be in the interaction of young people actively engaged within the technology space in both countries.

“I know that Vietnam is doing interesting things in technology and telecoms sectors. I think that we should look for opportunities where young people in Nigeria and Vietnam can interact especially in technology and share ideas, innovation, and their different attainments. I certainly would like us to explore that possibility, especially in the area of technology with our young people.”

He further stated that there was plenty room for cooperation, and one of such ways is being effective in establishing relationships and ensuring the relationships endure if both countries are “able to structure the Bi-national Commission and then also some of the economic collaboration through agriculture and technology.”

The Vice President thanked the Vietnamese Government for the kind donation of medical supplies comprising of Droplet Resistant and Antibacterial Fabric Masks, Medical Face Masks and Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase (RT-PCR) Diagnostic Panel for SARS-COV 2 to the Nigerian Mission in Hanoi, Vietnam, in addition, to the donation of 100,000 high-quality 4-Fly Anti- Bacterial Medical face masks by a Vietnamese Pharmaceutical Company known as ANH THU Pharmaceutical and Medical Equipment Investment Joint Stock Company–PSD Group.

In his remarks, Ambassador Quoe commended Nigeria’s role in Africa “as being enormous” and stated that Vietnam “would always wish to have Nigeria’s support in multilateral forums, most importantly the United Nations.”

He also mentioned that the economic potential between both countries is huge and hopes Nigeria “would soon recognize Vietnam as a country of full market economy and Nigeria and Vietnam would sign an agreement on investment, promotion, and protection.”

The Ambassador added that “there are five to seven thousand Nigerians studying and helping in the development of the economy of Vietnam” and also requested the consideration of direct flights between Nigeria and Vietnam.

Present at the meeting was the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, and other government officials.

US Ambassador Raps Lunar New Year Message To Vietnam

This handout screengrab released to AFP on February 9, 2021 by the US Embassy in Hanoi shows Daniel Kritenbrink (L), US ambassador to Vietnam, performing with Vietnamese rapper Wowy (C) in a rap video to mark the traditional Tet holiday on the Lunar New Year. (Photo by Handout / US EMBASSY IN HANOI / AFP) 

 

 

The US ambassador to Vietnam has rapped a Lunar New Year video to the country that has set the local internet alight, drawing a measure of admiration — and cringing — from those who’ve watched it.

Daniel Kritenbrink, a career diplomat who served previously in Kuwait, China and Japan, is featured roaming the streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City wearing headphones and rhyming a Tet message to the country.

He was accompanied by enthusiastic local music stars as they drank coffee and sampled Vietnamese snacks.

 

This handout screengrab released to AFP on February 9, 2021 by the US Embassy in Hanoi shows Daniel Kritenbrink (C), US ambassador to Vietnam, performing in a rap video to mark the traditional Tet holiday on the Lunar New Year. (Photo by Handout / US EMBASSY IN HANOI / AFP)

 

The Lunar New Year, known locally as Tet, is the most important annual holiday for Vietnamese, centred around family gatherings.

It also has enormous significance in relations between Washington and Hanoi, as North Vietnam launched what became known as the “Tet offensive” over the holiday in 1968, catching the US-backed southern Saigon government unawares.

It was a much lighter mood in Kritenbrink’s video, however, which showed the diplomat rapping “Tet in Vietnam is the tops” while wearing a pair of headphones around his neck.

 

This handout screengrab released to AFP on February 9, 2021 by the US Embassy in Hanoi shows Daniel Kritenbrink, US ambassador to Vietnam, performing in a rap video to mark the traditional Tet holiday on the Lunar New Year. (Photo by Handout / US EMBASSY IN HANOI / AFP)

 

Another scene shows him with a duster in hand, intoning: “Clean the house now, friends are on the way.”

The three-minute clip has been liked and shared thousands of times since it was posted Tuesday.

Most praised it as “lovely” or “fun” — but others were less complimentary.

“Has the US State Department turned into a rapper department?” asked Phuong Nguyen in a post on the US embassy’s official Facebook page.

After the decades-long war between the US and Vietnam, relations between the two powers were formally reset when then-President Barack Obama visited in 2016 and lifted a long-standing embargo.

 

This handout screengrab released to AFP on February 9, 2021 by the US Embassy in Hanoi shows Daniel Kritenbrink (L), US ambassador to Vietnam, performing with Vietnamese rapper Wowy in a rap video to mark the traditional Tet holiday on the Lunar New Year. (Photo by Handout / US EMBASSY IN HANOI / AFP)

 

Trade tensions have recently ramped up, however, after Washington accused Hanoi of currency manipulation.

None of that appeared to silence the ambassador.

“From my shores to your shores, our friendship endures,” he rapped.

“US and Vietnam, from now to forever, we’re trusted partners, prospering together.”

UK Court Convicts Two Men Over Death Of 39 Vietnamese Migrants

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud
A file photo of a court gavel.

 

Two people were found guilty on Monday of manslaughter and people smuggling over the gruesome discovery of 39 dead Vietnamese migrants in the back of a lorry in England last year.

The bodies of the men and women were found inside a sealed container near London in October 2019 after suffocating in sweltering temperatures.

Lorry driver Eamonn Harrison, 24, from Northern Ireland, and Romanian national Gheorghe Nica, 43, were found guilty on of 39 counts of manslaughter by a London court.

They are expected to be sentenced early in January.

READ ALSO: Philippines Set To Raise Age Of Consent From 12 To 16

Christopher Kennedy, 24, and Valentin Calota, 38, were also convicted for their part in the smuggling operation after the 10-week trial.

All four were found guilty over their roles in a lucrative smuggling ring which prosecutors said had been motivated by greed.

Home Secretary (interior minister) Priti Patel said Monday’s verdict had motivated her “to do all I can to go after the people smugglers who prey on the vulnerable and trade in human misery”.

“I’m determined to bring callous people smugglers to justice and keep our communities safe from the actions of horrendous organised crime groups.”

Monday’s convictions brings the total number found guilty in the UK in connection to the crime to eight.

Prosecutors are considering charges against a further three people.

Maurice Robinson, 26, who collected the container and found the bodies, had already pleaded guilty to 39 counts of manslaughter and to conspiring in people-smuggling.

Haulage firm boss Ronan Hughes, 41, has also admitted 39 manslaughter charges.

– Left messages for families –
The bodies were discovered at the southeastern English port of Purfleet after being sealed inside the container for at least 12 hours, in unbearably high temperatures.

A forensic expert calculated it would have taken about nine hours for the air to turn toxic in the trailer, with death coming soon after.

The victims were all aged between 15 and 44.

Prosecutors have said the trapped Vietnamese were unable to get a phone signal inside the container, whose cooling system was turned off.

Mobile phones recovered from the bodies of the 39 victims showed they had tried to raise the alarm and left messages for the families as they ran out of air.

Others had used a metal pole to try to punch a hole through the roof or attract attention, the court heard.

During the trial, British police officer Jack Emerson described finding the trailer “full of bodies” when he first arrived on the scene and searched for signs of life.

He said he was unable to check if all of those inside were still alive, as they were “closely packed” in the back of the truck.

The deaths of the Vietnamese victims in the UK have highlighted the vast and unscrupulous trafficking networks spanning the globe.

Many of them had come from poorer regions of Vietnam with their families, and like others, were plunged into thousands of dollars of debt to people smugglers to pay for the dangerous journeys.

Seven individuals were convicted in September in Vietnam for varying degrees of involvement in the trafficking in the country’s central Ha Tinh province.

Investigations in France and Belgium also led to dozens of suspects being charged following an investigation led by the EU’s law enforcement cooperation agency Eurojust.

AFP

Vietnam Reports First Coronavirus Death

vietnam
In this file photo taken on April 19, 2020, residents wearing face masks practise social distancing while shopping from behind a line as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a wet market in Hanoi. Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP

 

Vietnam recorded its first coronavirus death on Friday as the pandemic rebounds in a country that had previously been praised for stubbing out the contagion.

The patient, a 70-year-old man, died in the central city of Hoi An nearly three weeks after being admitted to hospital with serious underlying conditions, according to state media.

The communist nation was applauded earlier this year for controlling COVID-19 with strict restrictions on movement, extensive quarantine measures and a robust track-and-trace regime.

But an outbreak over the weekend in the beach resort of Danang, near Hoi An, has put the country back on high alert.

Health officials on Friday also announced the country’s highest single daily caseload since the pandemic began.

 

Police wearing protective facemasks amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus allow a local resident to pass through a checkpoint with goods in Son Loi commune in Vinh Phuc province on February 13, 2020.

 

“Elite medical experts” have been mobilised to help tamp down the outbreak in Danang, Doctor Tran Nhu Duong, deputy head of the National Institute of Epidemiology, told state TV as news of the first death emerged.

They will join “around 1,000 people including military men” heading to the the epicentre of the latest cluster, a city that had been bursting with domestic tourists until authorities announced the virus had made a comeback.

Before the weekend Vietnam had not recorded a locally transmitted infection for nearly 100 days.

But since then nearly 100 people who had travelled to Danang have tested positive across the country, leaving health authorities scrambling to snuff out the outbreak.

– Makeshift hospital –

The number of “infected people increased at a record figure” with 45 new cases, said the Suc Khoe Doi Song newspaper, a health ministry mouthpiece.

The patients aged between 27 and 87 were all being treated at or were employed at Danang’s hospitals, or were their relatives, it added.

State media said a makeshift hospital was being set up at a Danang sports centre in anticipation of the outbreak worsening.

Flights in and out of Danang and public transport within the city have already been suspended, and the majority of its 1.1 million inhabitants have been advised to remain at home.

 

A file photo of the Vietnam map.

 

At least 21,000 people are undergoing rapid-test swabs for the virus in the capital Hanoi after travelling to Danang. Similar tests were also conducted in business hub Ho Chi Minh City for returnees from Danang.

Bars have been closed in nearby Hue, while tourism is suspended in historic Hoi An.

Vietnam has won praise for its handling of the virus — reporting just 509 infections in total, including those from the new wave, and until Friday no deaths despite sharing a long border with China.

Earlier this month state media trumpeted the survival of a British pilot who spent more than two months on life support in Vietnam with the virus.

Stephen Cameron, 42, was the sickest patient medics have had to treat during the coronavirus outbreak and was given just a 10 percent chance of survival.

AFP

Football Suspended In Vietnam After New COVID-19 Cases

File: Soccer balls are seen on the ground prior to the opening game of South Korea’s K-League football match between Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Suwon Samsung Bluewings at Jeonju World Cup Stadium in Jeonju on May 8, 2020. AFP

 

Vietnam suspended its domestic football leagues Sunday until further notice following news of the first locally transmitted case of coronavirus in nearly 100 days.

After more than three months with no local cases, a 57-year-old retired Vietnamese man in the central city of Danang tested positive for the virus.

Following the discovery, authorities announced Sunday that they have found three more infections connected to the Danang case.

In response, the Vietnam Professional Football (VPF) announced all domestic football leagues have been suspended.

The country’s top Vleague and the First Division were supposed to play new rounds starting July 29.

The change in plans is “to ensure the safety of the players”, organisers said in a statement.

No details were provided on when the matches might resume.

Vietnam has won praise for its handling of the virus, registering just 420 infections and no deaths despite sharing a long, ungovernable border with China.

Communist authorities were quick to lock down the country after the virus emerged in neighbouring China, with a rigorous state quarantine and the contact-tracing system put in place.

AFP

13 Killed In Vietnam Road Accident

 

A high school reunion trip in Vietnam took a fatal turn on Sunday when a bus carrying the alumni crashed and flipped over at a bend on the highway, killing more than a dozen passengers.

The nearly 40 passengers on the bus were classmates from Dong Hoi High School who were travelling to visit the area in central Quang Binh province for the 30th anniversary of their graduation.

But the driver lost control on a sharp turn on the highway, said state media.

At least 13 people were killed, and many more injured.

“People on the coach said that when the coach was travelling down the slope, there were signs the brakes were broken,” reported Tuoi Tre newspaper.

Images shared on news websites showed a bus on its side in a gutter by the asphalt road, with bystanders looking on as rescuers tended to the injured.

Travelling on Vietnam’s roads can be a hazardous affair, and World Health Organization says traffic accident injuries are the leading cause of death for those aged 15-29.

So far, the country has recorded more than 3,200 deaths in the first six months of this year.

AFP

Vietnam Opens World’s ‘First’ Gold-Plated Hotel

Staff wait to welcome guests in the lobby of the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake hotel, the world's first gold-plated hotel, in Hanoi on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)
Staff wait to welcome guests in the lobby of the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake hotel, the world’s first gold-plated hotel, in Hanoi on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

 

For guests at the “Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake” coffee comes in a gold cup and bath time is taken in gilded splendour.

The world’s first self-proclaimed gold-plated hotel is open for business — and the Vietnamese owners insist they have the Midas touch despite the cramping of global travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

The hotel cost $200 million to construct with a 24-carat plating across lobbies, an infinity pool and rooms with even cutlery, cups, shower heads and toilet seats receiving the golden treatment.

 

The sink and toilet bowl are seen in one of the rooms of the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake hotel, the world’s first gold-plated hotel, in Hanoi on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

While expensive for Vietnam, at $250 a night it is not prohibitive for wealthy locals craving a few nights living like Donald Trump, the US President renowned for his love of all things that glitter.

The hotel wants “ordinary people to the super rich… to check-in” both physically and on social media, said Nguyen Huu Duong, chairman of Hoa Binh group that owns the hotel.

A gold-plated infinity pool overlooks the city, while meals at the 25-storey hotel in downtown Hanoi may be mixed with a mysterious “gold substance”, according to the owners.

So far, the smattering of customers appear to be delighted with Hanoi’s flashiest new digs.

Staff wait to welcome guests in the lobby of the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake hotel, the world's first gold-plated hotel, in Hanoi on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)
Staff wait to welcome guests in the lobby of the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake hotel, the world’s first gold-plated hotel, in Hanoi on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

“When I arrived here… I felt like a king, you know, the Pharaoh… the king of Egypt,” joked Phillip Park, a South Korean guest.

“I really enjoyed the luxury atmosphere,” added Vietnamese guest Luong Van Thuan, saying he felt his status had automatically been “raised”.

The relatively modest construction price tag was achieved by sourcing the gold plating locally — significantly reducing costs.

“Our group has a factory that can do gold-plated stuff, so the cost for our equipment and furniture here is quite cheap,” Duong said.

A staff member poses for a photograph inside the 1,000 USD per night executive two bedroom suite of the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake hotel, the world's first gold-plated hotel, in Hanoi on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)
A staff member poses for a photograph inside the 1,000 USD per night executive two bedroom suite of the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake hotel, the world’s first gold-plated hotel, in Hanoi on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

 

And the pandemic which has strafed global tourism has not put him off opening, with Vietnam winning praise for its swift lockdown which has contained the coronavirus spread.

“For sure next year, we will make money,” he added.

 

 

 

-AFP

COVID-19: Vietnam Eases Restrictions As Cases Plateau

vietnam
(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 19, 2020, residents wearing face masks practise social distancing while shopping from behind a line as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a wet market in Hanoi. Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP

 

Vietnam eased social distancing measures Thursday, with experts pointing to a decisive response involving mass quarantines and expansive contact tracing for the apparent success in containing the coronavirus.

Despite a long and porous border with China, the Southeast Asian nation has recorded just 268 virus cases and zero deaths, according to official tallies.

Although the numbers tested for COVID-19 are relatively low and experts caution the authoritarian government’s health ministry is the sole source for the figures, they also say there is little reason to distrust them.

Vietnam was one of the first nations to ban flights to and from mainland China and in early February, when it had barely more than a dozen cases, villages with 10,000 people close to the nation’s capital were placed under quarantine.

There has also been aggressive contact tracing.

One 72-year-old Hanoi resident described how he and a team in his community had been tasked with zeroing in on any suspected cases, falling back on grassroots Communist party networks in charge of overseeing neighbourhoods.

“We go to each and every alley, knocking on each and every door,” Nguyen Trinh Thang told AFP.

“We follow the guidance from our government that ‘fighting the pandemic is like fighting our enemy’.”

Vietnam’s success in convincing the public to cooperate has been key, said Takeshi Kasai, the World Health Organization’s Western Pacific regional director.

“They’re really doing their part,” he said earlier this week, adding he believed around 80,000 people were placed under quarantine.

“I think that’s the reason why they were able to continue to keep the number (of infections) small.”

There are now almost no international flights arriving in Vietnam and the country has been under partial lockdown since the beginning of April.

The streets of Hanoi — normally flooded with motorbikes, tourists and vendors — have been virtually deserted, save those most in need queueing at so-called rice ATMs for handouts.

The strict controls have apparently paid off.

After reporting no new infections for the sixth consecutive day on Wednesday, the government said some shops and services will be allowed to reopen.

On Thursday, a few of the capital’s cafes had resumed service, although the streets were still fairly quiet.

– Exceeding expectations –
Across Europe and the United States, local governments are struggling to keep their citizens indoors — with beachgoers crowding on a shoreline and protesters refusing to comply with lockdown orders.

In contrast, Communist Vietnam has put tens of thousands under state quarantine, including overseas citizens returning home, at military-style camps across the country.

Vu Thi Nhung and her son spent two weeks sleeping in dormitory bunk beds with no mattresses at a camp in Hanoi after returning from Germany in March.

Their three meals a day were deposited outside their rooms by soldiers.

“You can’t compare it to being at home but given Vietnam and its current economic situation during an epidemic, it exceeded my expectations,” she told AFP.

Neighbouring Thailand, which reported the first case outside of China in mid-January, has also seen a declining number of new cases in the past week, with doctors applauding government restrictions such as a night-time curfew.

In Cambodia, the case number has remained unchanged at 122 for over a week, while cases in Laos have stayed at 19.

But Oupass Putcharoen, head of Chulalongkorn Hospital’s Emergency Infectious Disease Clinic in Thailand, said its neighbours’ numbers could be due to the “low rate of testing”.

So far, Thailand has done more than 142,000 COVID-19 tests, Cambodia around 9,000 while Vietnam has carried out over 180,000 for its 96 million people.

Vietnam expert Carl Thayer, an emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales, said Vietnam’s case numbers should be treated with caution as Hanoi can punish for anyone who disputes them.

But he added: “There are too many people from overseas, too many people with mobile phones, too many people on the internet (for a cover-up).”

Vietnam Vows To Punish Hiders Of Coronavirus After New Cases

This handout illustration image obtained February 27, 2020 courtesy of the National Institutes of Health taken with a scanning electron microscope shows SARS-CoV-2 (round blue objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab,

Vietnamese authorities vowed Monday to punish anyone concealing sickness after 13 people caught the deadly new coronavirus on a flight to Hanoi, sparking lockdowns and panic-buying in the capital.

The Southeast Asian country had previously reported only 16 cases of the virus despite bordering China — the epicentre of the global outbreak — but a cluster of infections was discovered at the weekend among 201 passengers on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Britain.

The group were in quarantine Monday and recovering, Vietnam’s health ministry said, with the hospital they were held in placed on lockdown along with several houses and hotels in Hanoi where they had stayed.

READ ALSO: China Makes Progress In Fight Against Covid-19

Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc vowed Monday to “duly punish” those who fail to disclose a coronavirus diagnosis, according to state media.

He told a meeting of officials in Hanoi that “we need strong, adequate and immediate measures to effectively stop the source of infection”.

Authorities have launched an online tool asking all citizens to declare their health status.

“Declaring false information… may be subject to criminal handling,” stated an official notice.

A 29-year-old woman on the flight from London was found to be suffering from the disease after returning to Hanoi from a tour of France, Italy and Britain.

She is believed to have infected her aunt and driver, forcing authorities to isolate several houses near her home and a private hospital where she first sought treatment.

The other patients included Vietnamese, British, Irish and Mexican nationals.

A minister on the same flight tested negative for the virus but was also quarantined for 14 days with the group.

The health ministry said there may be “more cases to be discovered as a result of close contact” with the first patient.

People in the capital were seen panic-buying staple items as the lockdown of the hospital began.

The infections bring the country’s total to 30, including a man who returned from South Korea, but more than 18,600 people have been monitored for illness or placed in isolation since early February. No-one has died from the virus.

Vietnam has granted limited access to visitors from China and South Korea — another major coronavirus hotspot — since the outbreak began at the start of the year, imposing a 14-day quarantine at government-controlled centres.

Several sports and cultural events have been cancelled across the nation, but Vietnam’s inaugural Formula One race is still set to go ahead on April 5 in Hanoi.

Vietnam Quarantines Area With 10,000 Residents Over Coronavirus

Police wearing protective facemasks amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus allow an ambulance to pass through a checkpoint in Son Loi commune in Vinh Phuc province on February 13, 2020. PHOTO: Nhac NGUYEN / AFP

 

More than 10,000 people in villages near Vietnam’s capital were placed under quarantine Thursday after six cases of the deadly new coronavirus were discovered there, authorities said.

In the first mass quarantine outside of China since the virus emerged there in late December, the Son Loi farming region about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Hanoi will be locked down for 20 days, the health ministry said.

Checkpoints have been set up around the six villages that make up Son Loi, said an AFP team on the outskirts of the area in Binh Xuyen district.

Health officials wearing protective suits sprayed disinfectant on vehicles. Police warned people wanting to enter the quarantined area that while they would be allowed in, they would not be able to leave.

The order comes after the health ministry reported that five people have been infected with the virus. It later announced a sixth case.

Police wearing protective facemasks amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus allow a local resident to pass through a checkpoint with goods in Son Loi commune in Vinh Phuc province on February 13, 2020. PHOTO: NHAC NGUYEN / AFP

 

They all originated from a female worker who was sent to Wuhan in central China — where the virus originated — for training.

The disease then spread to her family and her neighbours, including a three-month-old baby.

So far, only the female worker has fully recovered and been discharged from the hospital, according to updates from the ministry, while the others remain in a “stable” condition.

Cannot get out

The Son Loi area of roughly 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) is made up of farmland. Many of the 10,600 residents also commute to nearby factories for short-term labour jobs.

Villager Tran Van Minh told AFP that authorities had already advised them to avoid large gatherings, though the cluster of infections in his village likely began due to Tet lunar new year celebrations last week.

“The woman infected her family and neighbours after Tet visits,” he said, adding that he and his family remain in good health.

But “life has been badly affected,” he told AFP by phone, adding that much of the labour force is reliant on jobs in construction and house painting.

“Now we cannot get out and even if we do, clients don’t welcome us that much as before.”

Authorities in Son Loi began handing out face masks after the Tet holiday ended on January 30. Since then children and elderly have largely been confined to their homes.

Minh said he was not worried about running out of food, but he hoped “the epidemic will end soon”.

More than 1,350 people have died in China from the virus, and nearly 60,000 others have been infected since it was first detected in Hubei province in December.

While thousands have recovered, scientists and pharmaceutical companies are racing to test a vaccine and treatment to better target the virus — though health experts say it could be months before it is readily available.

China has imposed unprecedented quarantines across Hubei, locking in about 56 million people, in a bid to stop it spreading.

Tens of millions of others in cities far from the epicentre are also enduring travel restrictions.

The virus has also had massive ramifications globally, with many countries banning travellers from China in a bid to stop people spreading the disease.

Vietnam, which shares a porous border with China, has 16 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including those in Son Loi.

It had banned all flights to and from mainland China in a bid to stop the virus from spreading.

It also suspended new tourist visas for Chinese nationals or foreigners who had been in China over the past two weeks.

AFP

Police Among Four Dead In Vietnam Land Clash

Vietnam Flag

 

 

Three policemen and a villager died Thursday in rare violent clashes with Vietnam’s communist authorities over disputed land around a military-owned Hanoi airport.

Construction of the Mieu Mon facility has been a long-running sore for villagers who say it is being built on land illegally seized by the military.

Clashes erupted on Thursday before dawn when authorities attempting to erect a perimeter fence were met by residents armed with “grenades, petrol bombs and knives”, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement.

The “social disorder” led to the “deaths of three policemen and one resident”, the statement said, adding other villagers were “arrested for serious violations of the law”.

It was not immediately possible to confirm the toll or verify the authorities’ version of events, disseminated with unusual speed in a country where secrecy and control normally trump transparency.

But a video widely circulated on Facebook by an activist at the scene appeared to show gunfire lighting up the dawn gloom around the village as several truckloads of security guards arrived.

Human Rights Watch urged Vietnam to launch an investigation that “gets to the bottom of what happened” and to provide unfettered access to the site for impartial observers including journalists, diplomats and UN officials.

Land disputes are common in Vietnam, where powerful individuals and companies often make claims on property.

The government strictly controls freedom of expression and the right to protest but flashpoints occur.

In 2017 villagers held more than a dozen police officers and officials, hostage, for several days at the airport site in a standoff that gripped the tightly-controlled country.