Vietnam Quarantines Tens of Thousands in Coronavirus Camps

Vietnam is forcing tens of thousands of people into quarantine camps to stem the spread of the Chinese coronavirus in the country, Reuters revealed on Thursday.

Travelers returning home to Vietnam from overseas are shipped to government sites if suspected of carrying the Chinese coronavirus. This aggressive tactic of sending newly arrived travelers to mass quarantine camps was first seen in China, where the virus originated.

“All passengers undergo a quick screening,” a medical official at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi told Reuters. “Those with symptoms are taken to hospital, and the rest are sent to quarantine camps, where they will share a room with 10 to 20 others on the same flight,” he added. The official spoke to Reuters anonymously, as government officials in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam are forbidden from speaking to media.

About 44,955 people have been quarantined in Vietnam, nearly half in military-run centers, according to the Ministry of Health’s public portal. This figure was reportedly down about 15 percent from Monday, as many among the first wave of travelers to return home to Vietnam in early March had recently been discharged.

The travelers join at least 30,000 other people currently under home quarantine in Vietnam. The country’s mass quarantine of citizens already in the country began as early as February with the lockdown of entire villages outside of Hanoi. This was the first example outside of China in which such drastic measures to sequester people were taken. At the time, the Vietnamese government warned of its intentions to quarantine travelers returning home from overseas, which reportedly began on March 16.

Vietnam had 153 Chinese coronavirus infections and no deaths at press time on Thursday. Currently, Vietnam’s proven infection rate appears lower than any other nation in the region except Myanmar and Laos, where testing has been limited. According to official figures, Vietnam has tested more than 30,000 people.

Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc called the current phase of his nation’s battle against the spread of the Chinese coronavirus “decisive.” Government statements from the socialist republic refer to the challenge in similarly militaristic terms, describing it as the “spring general offensive of 2020.”

Vietnam’s austere rhetoric surrounding these efforts echoes China’s, in yet another similarity between the two nations and their handling of the Wuhan coronavirus, named for the Chinese city in which it originated late last year. China has described its current circumstances as reminiscent of “wartime conditions,” as the communist nation works to combat the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus within its own borders.