Stocks in Vietnam Slump Most Since 2001 on Virus Outbreak

Vietnam reported a coronavirus outbreak in two northern provinces, triggering movement curbs and prompting a plunge in stocks.

The health ministry announced earlier on Thursday two domestic virus patients -- the first local cases since Dec. 1 -- with one tied to a woman who tested positive for the new Covid-19 variant in Japan. Then officials just reported 82 new local virus cases in the northern provinces of Hai Duong and Quang Ninh.

The benchmark VN Index tumbled 6.7% at the close, its biggest slump since September 2001. The gauge has fallen more than 12% so far this week, the most since March 13.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered authorities to stay calm and not to allow people in Hai Duong and Quang Ninh to travel out of the provinces, the government website reported.

A female patient in the northern province of Hai Duong, who works at Poyun Co., had close contact with a Vietnamese woman who tested positive for the virus after arriving in Osaka, Japan, according to the ministry.

The patient in Japan was infected with the new variant, according to a report on the government website, which cited information from Japanese authorities. A Vietnamese male passenger on the same flight to Japan also tested positive for the virus, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported, citing information from Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport.

Vietnam Isolates 513 After First Local Cases in About 3 Months

Hai Duong provincial officials tracked down 237 residents who came in close contact with the female patient and another woman who traveled to Japan. Chi Linh City, where Poyun is based, locked down a village. Authorities will test residents of the village, surrounding areas and about 2,253 Poyun workers.

Quang Ninh authorities issued stay-home orders for students, restrictions of public gatherings and suspended local government meetings deemed unnecessary, the government website said in a separate post. The capital of Hanoi has isolated 24 people who came in close contact with the patient in Japan, Hanoimoi newspaper reported on its website, citing the city’s health department.

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