Thousands of Chinese stuck in central Vietnam province after suspension of flights

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Thousands of Chinese stuck in central Vietnam province after suspension of flights

Chinese tourists in Nha Trang, a popular coastal resort town in Khanh Hoa Province, central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Nam.

5,361 Chinese nationals including 4,800 tourists are stuck in Khanh Hoa Province after all flights to China were suspended from February 1 amidst the novel coronavirus epidemic.

The non-tourist Chinese are investors and legal workers, Nguyen Dac Tai, Vice Chairman of Khanh Hoa, said Sunday.

Local authorities have petitioned the Prime Minister for help, saying all stranded Chinese nationals desire to return home.

The Vietnamese government has ordered the suspension of all flights to China as the deadly new coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak spread rapidly, claiming 361 lives in China and one in the Philippines.

Khanh Hoa, home to the popular beach destination of Nha Trang, is one of three localities in Vietnam to have declared a coronavirus epidemic. Thanh Hoa in the central region and Vinh Phuc in the north are the other two provinces.

Last Saturday, a female hotel staff in Nha Trang was confirmed as Vietnam’s sixth case of pneumonia virus infection. She had caught the nCoV infection from two Chinese nationals currently quarantined in Saigon.

Since last Tuesday, Khanh Hoa’s tourism sector has stopped all activities to bring Chinese tourists to the province.

Nha Trang, well known for its beaches and scuba diving, is a popular Vietnamese destination among Chinese nationals. It helped draw 2.4 million visitors to Khanh Hoa last year, a major share of them Chinese arrivals.

Vietnam’s government declared the novel coronavirus an epidemic on Saturday.

Aside from mainland China and Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, the U.S., South Korea, France, Germany, Canada, the UAE, Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, India, the Philippines, the U.K., Russia, Finland, Nepal, Sweden, and Spain have confirmed infection cases by Sunday.

The Vietnamese government has deployed various measures to combat the virus, including halting all flights to coronavirus-hit areas, suspending visas for visitors from those regions, quarantining Chinese workers returning to Vietnam after the Lunar New Year holiday (Tet) and suspending spring festivals as well as temporarily closing schools.

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