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Coronavirus-hit localities told to stop all festivals

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien has requested the localities that have declared outbreaks of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) to halt all festivals, including those currently underway, to fight the spread of the acute respiratory disease caused by this virus.

The ministry said on February 3 that in a recent notice sent to provinces and centrally-run cities, Minister Thien also asked them to suspend all activities at historical – cultural relic sites and scenic landscapes to prevent gatherings so as to reduce infection risks.

He also demanded stronger inspection and settlement of violations in the implementation of the Prime Minister and the ministry’s directives and notices relevant to the nCoV prevention and control.

On February 1, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed a decision declaring the nCoV-caused disease causing an epidemic in Vietnam.

The decision noted that the epidemic began on January 23 with the first two confirmed cases to be two Chinese nationals. The scope of the epidemic was identified in the three provinces of Khanh Hoa, Thanh Hoa and Vinh Phuc.

As of February 3 morning, Vietnam had recorded eight nCoV cases.

The latest patient is a female worker from the northern province of Vinh Phuc who returned to Vietnam from China’s Wuhan city, the epicentre of the epidemic, last month on a China Southern Airlines flight, the same flight taken by three other Vietnamese previously tested positive to the virus.

The other cases consist of two Chinese nationals (a man and his son), a Vietnamese hotel receptionist having contact with the two Chinese, and a US citizen transiting Wuhan on his flight to Vietnam.

Earlier, the World Health Organisation had declared the 2019-nCoV outbreak a public health emergency of international concern./