Vietnam's coronavirus cases up to 35 after new infections from Europe

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing protective mask walks near the house of a coronavirus infected patient, at a quarantined street in Hanoi, Vietnam March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Kham

HANOI(Reuters) - Weeks after Vietnam declared that all 16 of its coronavirus cases had recovered, the number of infected patients is on the rise following the reintroduction of the virus on a flight from Britain.

Vietnam’s health ministry reported on Wednesday a total of 35 coronavirus cases, more than double the original 16.

Thirteen passengers who were on a Vietnam Airlines flight from London to Hanoi on March 2. tested positive for the virus, most of them British or Vietnamese people who had traveled to other parts of Europe, including Italy, the ministry said.

Vietnam’s latest coronavirus case, a 29-year-old saleswoman in the central province of Danang, had close contact with two infected British tourists from the flight on Mar. 4, the ministry said in a statement.

There have been no coronavirus deaths in Vietnam.

The health ministry said on Feb. 25 all of the 16 people who had been infected with the virus at the time had been cured, and that no new cases had been recorded since Feb. 13.

Vietnam on Monday suspended visa-free travel for citizens from eight European countries amid growing concern over the coronavirus epidemic.

The suspension applied to citizens of Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain, the government said in a release on its website.

Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by James Pearson, Robert Birsel