February 14, 2020 / 10:49 AM / 4 days ago

Vietnam says monitoring over 5,000 Chinese workers for coronavirus

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam is monitoring more than 5,000 workers who returned to the Southeast Asian country after the Lunar New Year holiday for signs of coronavirus, state media reported on Friday.

On Thursday, Communist-ruled Vietnam quarantined a rural commune of 10,000 people near Hanoi because of fears the coronavirus could spread there.

Sixteen people in Vietnam have tested positive for the virus.

“As of February 11, there are 7,600 Chinese workers who returned to Vietnam after the holiday break, of which 5,112 are being closely monitored,” the state-run Tien Phong newspaper said, citing a report by Vietnam’s labour ministry.

“They are being isolated in their companies’ dormitories and local hotels. Suspected infection cases are quarantined at medical facilities,” the report added.

On Feb. 2, Vietnam’s labour ministry asked businesses and employers not to let Chinese workers return to work in Vietnam.

Vietnam declared a public health emergency over the epidemic on Feb. 1 and has banned all flights to and from China, where nearly 1,400 people have died from the virus.

Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by James Pearson and Hugh Lawson

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