Hanoi’s largest hospital locked down after staff get disease

A pedestrian and motorcyclists pass in front of closed shops in Hanoi yesterday. (AP pic)

HANOI: Vietnam officials ordered one of the nation’s largest medical centres to be locked down and demanded thousands of employees and people who recently visited Hanoi’s Bach Mai Hospital be tested for Covid-19 after nurses and other staff contracted the disease.

The Southeast Asian country, which has 169 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 the majority of businesses across the country.

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 Center 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.

Eight people associated with the hospital, including two nurses who took care of patients, and two food workers, have tested positive for the virus, according to the health ministry.

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