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Vietnam says 15,000 people linked to COVID-19 hotspot tested negative

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective mask and a hat gets donation foods for poor people during coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Hanoi, Vietnam April 7, 2020. REUTERS/Kham/File Photo

HANOI (Reuters) - More than 1,000 healthcare workers and 14,400 others linked to a COVID-19 outbreak at a hospital in Hanoi have tested negative for the coronavirus, the Vietnamese capital’s ruling body said on Thursday.

Bach Mai hospital, one of the country’s biggest medical centres, has been under lockdown since March 28 after authorities became concerned that cases there would spiral out of control.

“All 15,461 people tested negative for the virus. The outbreak in Bach Mai has been well controlled after the lockdown,” Hanoi People’s Committee chairman Nguyen Duc Chung said at a meeting, according to a statement on the ruling body’s website.

“Another 9,000 people who visited or looked after patients at Bach Mai must be tested by April 12,” he said.

The hospital was declared as the epicentre of the southeast Asian country’s coronavirus outbreak after at least 45 people connected to the hospital tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Vietnam’s health ministry said.

Vietnam’s government described the 10-15 day period following the Mar. 28 lockdown at Bach Mai as a decisive in controlling the virus.

Helped by the mass quarantine of tens of thousands and an aggressive contact-tracing programme, Vietnam has recorded 255 cases of the novel coronavirus, and reported no deaths. [nL4N2BJ11B]

Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; editing by James Pearson and Barbara Lewis