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Coronavirus Update: Public Schools Close, 8 Cases in Total, 1 New Patient in Saigon

Vietnam experienced a dramatic weekend related to the coronavirus spreading out of Wuhan, China.

According to VnExpress, a 29-year-old woman is the country's eighth confirmed novel coronavrius, or nCoV, patient. She returned to Vietnam from Wuhan on a flight with seven other Vietnamese nationals, three of whom tested positive for the virus late last week. She is in quarantine at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi and in stable condition.

The four infected individuals were part of a group of employees at Japan's Nihon Plastic Company Limited, and were sent to Wuhan for work training. They returned to Vietnam on January 17.

Over the weekend, a 73-year-old Vietnamese-American man in Saigon became the country's seventh nCoV case, according to Tuoi Tre. He had a layover in Wuhan before arriving in the city on January 16 and has been staying at a hotel in District 3 since. City officials have quarantined the man and isolated 15 others, including guests and hotel staff, for monitoring for the next two weeks. The hotel has also been disinfected.

Meanwhile, yesterday the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee announced that all K-12 public schools will remain closed this week, with classes set to resume on February 10. Students were supposed to return from the Tet holiday today. The move comes as officials hope to avoid further spread of the virus.

Hanoi has also closed public schools for the week while more than 60 universities have cancelled classes for the week. As of February 2, 23 provinces and cities have postponed the restarting date of all schools from two days to one week.

The weekend brought confusion in the skies, when on Saturday Vietnam's aviation authority announced that all flights between the country and Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan would be cancelled until May 1. The move came after the Vietnamese government declared a public health emergency due to nCoV.

The ban on flights between Taiwan was quickly reversed, while flights from Hong Kong and Macau are being allowed as well, though this is a developing situation. All flights to and from mainland China are suspended.

The knock-on effects of these travel restrictions are only just being felt. For example, over 100 Chinese experts working on Hanoi's Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line are stuck in China, as the Chinese government is also not allowing its people to leave the country.

[Photo via Thoi Dai]