A flight attendant from Vietnam Airlines did not follow the quarantine obligations at the quarantine facility led to the explosion of COVID-19 new cases in Ho Chi Minh city.  

On Nov. 14th, 2020, a male flight attendant entranced into Vietnam from Japan, then experienced isolation at the concentrated facility located on 115 Hong Ha, Ward 2, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh city until Nov. 18th. After testing negative twice, he was allowed to undergo self-quarantine at his home on Bach Dang St., Ward 2, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh city. However, on the morning of Nov. 28th , the attendant was tested positive for the COVID-19. This infected case put an end to the 120 days-in -a-row without community infection record of Vietnam, the last case discovered was on August 2nd. COVID-19 once again hunted Vietnam.

According to the Health Ministry’s regulations of isolation, flight attendants and pilots are isolated at two concentrated facilities of Vietnam Airline in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City within at least 5 days after each cosmetic flights. After testing negative twice, flight attendants and pilots will be allowed to self-quarantine at home within 14 days. The establishment of two concentrated facilities, quarantine and testing procedure was authorized by the Vietnam National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Opposition.

The flight attendant, who is known as the No. 1342 patient, violated quarantine regulations when he did not keep distance from his mother (living in Hoc Mon District.), his nephew (living in Binh Thanh District.) and a friend (living in District 6) who is working as an English Teacher. He took a nap at No. 1342 patient’s home, then came back to his home in District 6.

On Nov 28th evening, after the confirmation that the flight attendant got infected by COVID-19, a friend living in District 6 was identified as the F1 of coronavirus. Immediately, he was asked to isolate himself at Dist. 6 and took the testing process. Two days later, he was tested positive for COVID-19 and became the No. 1347 patient. Both of them were sent to Cu Chi Field Hospital for treatment.

Before being test positive for the virus, the English Teacher had gone to several places, such as: Highland Coffee shop located in Van Hanh Mall on Nov. 22nd, karaoke store on Thanh Thai St. on Nov. 23rd, and going back and forth between his home and an English Center having two branches in District 10 and Tan Binh District. 

According to two patients’ traces, the Ho Chi Minh city Department of Health determined that No. 1342 patient had close contact with 5 people and distant contact with 32 other people. 17cases were sent to concentrated isolation area, 20 people were isolated at home. 36 of 37 people tested positive after having close contact with the No. 1342 patient. 

The No. 1347 patient had been in close contact with 146 people across Dist. 10, 21 people in Tan Binh Dist., 7 people in Dist. 6 and 9 people in Binh Tan Dist. All of them were collected specimen and isolated at home. 

A flight attendant violated the quarantine obligations led to the explosion of COVID-19.

The places that infected cases found, such as residential areas, two branches of Key English Centers, Highlands coffee at Van Hanh Mall, karaoke,…, were suspended for disinfection. All of staff, security guards at these sites have to self-quarantine at home and follow the testing process from the medical group of Department of Health.

Few days later, on Nov. 30th evening, the Ministry of Health announced that three cases travelling to Vietnam had been isolated at Da Nang and Thanh Hoa. 

The 21-year-old female patient (No. 1344) travelled from the US transiting through Korea to Da Nang Airport on the flight VN043 on Nov 23rd. She tested negative for the first time on Nov 24th . She had a slight fever, sore throat and tested positive on Nov 29th, then being sent to Da Nang Lung Hospital for treatment. 

The 22-year-old female patient (No.1345) entered Noi Bai airport from Japan on the flight VJ7837. She had tested positive on Nov 30th at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Thanh Hoa, and being treated at National Hospital of Tropical Diseases 2.

The 25-year-old male patient (No.1346) travelled from Japan to Noi Bai on Nov 28th on the flight QH4913. After testing positive for coronavirus at the Center for Disease Control in Thanh Hoa, he has been treated at National Hospital of Tropical Diseases 2.

“It is common that the patients test negative for the third time”, Dr. Le Van Duyet, Head of Hanoi Laboratory Microbiology – Molecular Biology Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases , said. “There are three factors leading to this result: the amount of virus, incubation and specimen collection.

“In order to test positive, patients’ body must contain a certain amount of virus. Additionally, SARS-Co-V 2 usually exists on in the lower respiratory tract, including a specific mechanism leading to the incorrect results”, Dr. Duyet added.

It was the third strike of COVID-19 in Vietnam, and likely to the previous two strikes, Vietnam will be well-prepared for it. Another tough fight is about to begin.


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