Roughly 10,000 people living near Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, are reportedly under a government-imposed lockdown after six new cases of the coronavirus were identified at the Son Loi commune, located roughly 25 miles outside of the Hanoi city center.
"As of February 13, 2020, we will urgently implement the task of isolation and quarantine of the epidemic area in Son Loi commune," reads an official statement from Vietnam's health ministry. "The timeline ... is for 20 days."
Twenty days is certainly better than the 14-day quarantines being implemented here in the United States, seeing as how new evidence shows that the coronavirus can incubate for as long as 24 days. At the same time, 20 days still isn't enough to ensure no further spread of the disease.
After a sixth case of the coronavirus was recently identified at Son Loi, following five earlier cases, authorities decided to set up check points in Binh Xuyen, a district located in the outskirts of Son Loi. There, health workers wearing protective suits are spraying disinfectant daily on vehicles as they pass in and out of the area.
"Life has been badly affected," stated local resident Tran Van Minh to AFP, adding that even before this quarantine was set up authorities were going around warning locals to avoid large gatherings. "Now, we cannot get out and even if we do, clients don't welcome us that much as before."
It's obviously time to start thinking beyond containment, seeing as how the coronavirus has now gained a foothold well outside of China's borders. To learn more about how to protect yourself and your family, check out the following episode of The Health Ranger Report:
Some say that this quarantine and its checkpoints around Son Loi are a harbinger of much more to come. It's certainly within the realm of possibility, some reports indicate, that the entire nation of Vietnam could soon be under mandatory quarantine, as Vietnam directly borders China.
At the turn of the month, Vietnam issued travel bans on all flights to and from mainland China, as well as suspended all new tourist visas for Chinese nationals and foreigners who've visited China within the past two weeks. But it could be too little, too late.
"Over 10,000 residents of the (Son Loi) commune will not be permitted to leave for the next 20 days, starting from today," a Vietnamese official who wished to remain anonymous told the media on Thursday about this next-step containment attempt.
"As of this evening, we will still allow those who wish to return home to enter but, in the next few days, this place will be totally sealed," he added.
As it turns out, the Vietnamese province that's now under lockdown, known as Vinh Phuc, is home to factories owned by both Honda and Toyota, Japan's two largest automobile manufacturers.
"Everything is still under control," this same anonymous official claimed. "We are trying very hard to stop the virus spreading to other areas and provinces."
Vietnam has also made plans to quarantine Vietnamese citizens who recently traveled to China in multiple other areas of the country, including 950 who reportedly will be held at military camps outside of Hanoi, as well as 900 at temporary facilities set up on the Vietnam-China border.
To keep up with the latest coronavirus news, be sure to check out Pandemic.news.
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Sources for this article include: